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The First Complete and Authorised English Translation 






Of the First Edition 
of One Thousand Five 
Hundred Copies this is 

M...I084 • 











Printed by Morrison & Gibb Limited, Edinburgh 



Translator's Introduction . . . vii 

Author's Preface ..... i 
Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions . . n 

The Wanderer and his Shadow. . .179 


The publication of Human, ail-too- Human ex- 
tends over the period 1878- 1880. Of the two 
divisions which constitute the Second Part, " Mis- 
cellaneous Maxims and Opinions" appeared in 1879, 
and "The Wanderer and his Shadow" in 1880, 
Nietzsche being then in his thirty-sixth year. The 
Preface was added in 1886. The whole book forms 
Nietzsche's first lengthy contribution to literature. 
His previous works comprise only the philological 
treatises, The Birth of Tragedy, and the essays on 
Strauss, Schopenhauer, and Wagner in Thoughts out 
of Season. 

With the volumes of Human, all- too -Human 
Nietzsche appears for the first time in his true 
colours as philosopher. His purely scholarly pub- 
lications, his essays in literary and musical criticism 
— especially the essay on Richard Wagner at Bay- 
reuth — had, of course, foreshadowed his work as a 

These efforts, however, had been mere fragments, 
from which hardly any one could observe that a new 
philosophical star had arisen on the horizon. But 
by 1878 the period of transition had definitely set 
in. Outwardly, the new departure is marked by 
Nietzsche's resignation in that year of his professor- 


ship at Bale — a resignation due partly to ill-health, 
and partly to his conviction that his was a voice that 
should speak not merely to students of philology, 
but to all mankind. 

Nietzsche himself characterises Human, all-too- 
Human as " the monument of a crisis." He might as 
fitly have called it the first-fruits of a new harvest. 
Now, for the first time, he practises the form which 
he was to make so peculiarly his own. We are told 
— and we may well believe — that the book came as 
a surprise even to his most intimate friends. Wagner 
had already seen how matters stood at the publica- 
tion of the first part, and the gulf between the two 
probably widened on the appearance of the Second 

Several aphorisms are here, varying in length as 
in subject, and ranging over the whole human pro- 
vince — the emotions and aspirations, the religions 
and cultures and philosophies, the arts and litera- 
tures and politics of mankind. Equally varied is 
the range of style, the incisive epigram and the 
passage of pure poetry jostling each other on the 
same page. In this curious power of alternating be- 
tween cynicism and lyricism, Nietzsche appears as 
the prose counterpart of Heine. 

One or two of the aphorisms are of peculiar 
interest to English readers. The essay (as it may 
almost be called) on Sterne (p. 60, No. 113) does 
ample justice, if not more than justice, to that 
wayward genius. The allusion to Milton (p. yy, 
No. 150) will come as somewhat of a shock to 
English readers, especially to those who hold that 
in Milton Art triumphed over Puritanism. It 


should be remembered, however, that Nietzsche's 
view coincides with Goethe's. The dictum that 
Shakespeare's gold is to be valued for its quan- 
tity rather than its quality (p. 81, No. 162) also 
betrays a certain exclusiveness — a legacy from 
that eighteenth-century France which appealed so 
strongly to Nietzsche on its intellectual side. To 
Nietzsche, as to Voltaire, Shakespeare is after all 
" the great barbarian." 

The title of the book may be explained from a 
phrase in Thus Spake Zarathustra : " Verily, even 
the greatest I found — all-too-human." The keynote 
of these volumes is indeed disillusion and destruc- 
tion. Nor is this to be wondered at, for all men must 
sweepaway the rubbish beforethey can build. Hence 
we find here little of the constructive philosophy of 
Nietzsche — so far as he had a constructive phil- 
osophy. The Superman appears but faintly, the 
doctrine of Eternal Recurrence not at all. For this 
very reason, Human, all-too-Human is perhaps the 
best starting-point for the study of Nietzsche. The 
difficulties in style and thought of the later work — 
difficulties that at times become well-nigh insuper- 
able in Thus Spake Zarathustra — are here practi- 
cally absent. The book may, in fact, almost be 
described as "popular," bearing the same relation 
to Nietzsche's later productions as Wagner's Tann- 
hauser and Lohengrin bear to the Ring. 

The translator's thanks are due to Mr. Thomas 
Common for his careful revision of the manuscript 
and many valuable suggestions. 

P. V. C. 



One should only speak where one cannot remain 
silent, and only speak of what one has conquered — 
the rest is all chatter, "literature," bad breeding. My 
writings speak only of my conquests, " I " am in them, 
with all that is hostile to me, ego ipsissimus, or, if a 
more haughty expression be permitted, ego ipsissi- 
rnum. It may be guessed that I have many below 
me. . . . But first I always needed time, convalesc- 
ence, distance, separation, before I felt the stirrings 
of a desire to flay, despoil, lay bare, " represent " (or 
whatever one likes to call it) for the additional 
knowledge of the world, something that I had lived 
through and outlived, something done or suffered. 
Hence all my writings, — with one exception, im- 
portant, it is true, — must be ante-dated — they always 
tell of a " behind-me." Some even, like the first three 
Thoughts out of Season, must be thrown back before 
the period of creation and experience of a previously 
published book (The Birth of Tragedy in the case 
cited, as any one with subtle powers of observation 
and comparison could not fail to perceive). That 
wrathful outburst against the Germanism, smugness, 
and raggedness of speech of old David Strauss, the 



contents of the first Thought out of Season, gave a 
vent to feelings that had inspired me long before, as 
a student, in the midst of German culture and cul- 
tured Philistinism (I claim the paternity of the now 
much used and misused phrase "cultured Philis- 
tinism "). What I said against the " historical dis- 
ease " I said as one who had slowly and laboriously 
recovered from that disease, and who was not at 
all disposed to renounce "history" in the future be- 
cause he had suffered from her in the past. When 
in the third Thought out of Season I gave expression 
to my reverence for my first and only teacher, the 
great Arthur Schopenhauer — I should now give it a 
far more personal and emphatic voice — I was for my 
part already in the throes of moral scepticism and 
dissolution, that is, as much concerned with the 
criticism as with the study of all pessimism down to 
the present day. I already did not believe in " a 
blessed thing," as the people say, not even in Scho- 
penhauer. It was at this very period that an un- 
published essay of mine, " On Truth and Falsehood 
in an Extra-Moral Sense," came into being. Even 
my ceremonial oration in honour of Richard Wagner, 
on the occasion of his triumphal celebration at 
Bayreuth in 1876 — Bayreuth signifies the greatest 
triumph that an artist has ever won — a work that 
bears the strongest stamp of " individuality," was in 
the background an act of homage and gratitude to a 
bit of the past in me, to the fairest but most perilous 
calm of my sea-voyage . . . and as a matter of fact 
a severance and a farewell. (Was Richard Wagner 
mistaken on this point ? I do not think so. So 
long as we still love, we do not paint such pictures, 


we do not yet "examine," we do not place our- 
selves so far away as is essential for one who 
" examines." " Examining needs at least a secret 
antagonism, that of an opposite point of view," it 
is said on page 46 of the above-named work itself, 
with an insidious, melancholy application that was 
perhaps understood by few.) The composure that 
gave me the power to speak after many intervening 
years of solitude and abstinence, first came with 
the book, Human , Ail-too Human , to which this 
second preface and apologia * is dedicated. As a 
book for " free spirits " it shows some trace of that 
almost cheerful and inquisitive coldness of the psy- 
chologist, who has behind him many painful things 
that he keeps under him, and moreover establishes 
them for himself and fixes them firmly as with a 
needle-point. Is it to be wondered at that at such 
sharp, ticklish work blood flows now and again, that 
indeed the psychologist has blood on his fingers and 
not only on his fingers ? 

The Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions were in 
the first place, like The Wanderer and His Shadow, 
published separately as continuations and appendices 
to the above-mentioned human, ail-too human Book 
for Free Spirits : and at the same time, as a continu- 
ation and confirmation of an intellectual cure, con- 
sisting in a course of anti-romantic self-treatment, 
such as my instinct, which had always remained 

• " Foreword " and " forword " would be the literal render- 
ing of the play on words. — Tr. 


healthy, had itself discovered and prescribed against 
a temporary attack of the most dangerous form of 
romantics. After a convalescence of six years I may 
well be permitted to collect these same writings 
and publish them as a second volume of Human, 
Ail-too Human. Perhaps, if surveyed together, they 
will more clearly and effectively teach their lesson — 
a lesson of health that may be recommended as a 
disciplina voluntatis to the more intellectual natures 
of the rising generation. Here speaks a pessimist 
who has often leaped out of his skin but has always 
returned into it, thus, a pessimist with goodwill to- 
wards pessimism — at all events a romanticist no 
longer. And has not a pessimist, who possesses this 
serpentine knack of changing his skin, the right to 
read a lecture to our pessimists of to-day, who are 
one and all still in the toils of romanticism ? Or at 
least to show them how it is — done ? 

It was then, in fact, high time to bid farewell, and 
I soon received proof. Richard Wagner, who seemed 
all-conquering, but was in reality only a decayed and 
despairing romantic, suddenly collapsed, helpless 
and broken, before the Christian Cross. . . . Was 
there not a single German with eyes in his head and 
sympathy in his heart for this appalling spectacle ? 
Was I the only one whom he caused — suffering ? 
In any case, the unexpected event illumined for me 
in one lightning flash the place that I had abandoned, 
and also the horror that is felt by every one who is 
unconscious of a great danger until he has passed 


through it. As I went forward alone, I shuddered, 
and not long afterwards I was ill, or rather more 
than ill — weary: weary from my ceaseless disap- 
pointment about all that remained to make us 
modern men enthusiastic, at the thought of the power, 
work, hope, youth, love, flung to all the winds : 
weary from disgust at the effeminacy and undisci- 
plined rhapsody of this romanticism, at the whole 
tissue of idealistic lies and softening of conscience, 
which here again had won the day over one of the 
bravest of men : last, and not least, weary from the 
bitterness of an inexorable suspicion — that after this 
disappointment I was doomed to mistrust more 
thoroughly, to despise more thoroughly, to be alone 
more thoroughly than ever before. My task — whither 
had it flown ? Did it not look now as if my task were 
retreating from me and as if I should for a long future 
period have no more right to it ? What was I to do 
to endure this most terrible privation ? — I began by 
entirely forbidding myself all romantic music, that 
ambiguous, pompous, stifling art, which robs the 
mind of its sternness and its joyousness and provides 
a fertile soil for every kind of vague yearning and 
spongy sensuality. " Cave musicam " is even to-day 
my advice to all who are enough of men to cling to 
purity in matters of the intellect. Such music en- 
ervates, softens, feminises, its "eternal feminine" 
draws us — down ! * My first suspicion, my most im- 
mediate precaution, was directed against romantic 
music. If I hoped for anything at all from music, it 

* The allusion is to the ending of the Second Part of 
Goethe's Faust—" das Ewig Weibliche Zieht uns hinan ! "— 
"The Eternal Feminine Draweth us o?t ! " — Tr. 


was in the expectation of the coming of a musician 
bold, subtle, malignant, southern, healthy enough to 
take an immortal revenge upon that other music. 

Lonely now and miserably self-distrustful, I took 
sides, not without resentment, against myself and 
for everything that hurt me and was hard to me. 
Thus I once more found the way to that courageous 
pessimism that is the antithesis of all romantic fraud, 
and, as it seems to me to-day, the way to " myself," 
to my task. That hidden masterful Something, for 
which we long have no name until at last it shows 
itself as our task — that tyrant in us exacts a terrible 
price for every attempt that we make to escape him 
or give him the slip, for every premature act of self- 
constraint, for every reconciliation with those to 
whom we do not belong, for every activity, how- 
ever reputable, which turns us aside from our main 
purpose, yes, even for every virtue that would fain 
protect us from the cruelty of our most individual 
responsibility. " Disease " is always the answer when 
we wish to have doubts of our rights to our own task, 
when we begin to make it easier for ourselves in 
any way. How strange and how terrible ! It is our 
very alleviations for which we have to make the 
severest atonement ! And if we want to return to 
health, we have no choice left — we must load our- 
selves more heavily than we were ever laden before. 

It was then that I learnt the hermitical habit of 


speech acquired only by the most silent and suffer- 
ing. I spoke without witnesses, or rather indifferent 
to the presence of witnesses, so as not to suffer from 
silence, I spoke of various things that did not con- 
cern me in a style that gave the impression that 
they did. Then, too, I learnt the art of showing my- 
self cheerful, objective, inquisitive in the presence 
of all that is healthy and evil — is this, in an invalid, 
as it seems to me, his " good taste " ? Nevertheless, 
a more subtle eye and sympathy will not miss what 
perhaps gives a charm to these writings — the fact 
that here speaks one who has suffered and abstained 
in such a way as if he had never suffered or ab- 
stained. Here equipoise, composure, even gratitude 
towards life shall be maintained, here rules a stern, 
proud, ever vigilant, ever susceptible will, which has 
undertaken the task of defending life against pain 
and snapping off all conclusions that are wont to 
grow like poisonous fungi from pain, disappoint- 
ment, satiety, isolation and other morasses. Perhaps 
this gives our pessimists a hint to self-examination ? 
For it was then that I hit upon the aphorism, " a 
sufferer has as yet no right to pessimism," and that 
I engaged in a tedious, patient campaign against 
the unscientific first principles of all romantic pes- 
simism, which seeks to magnify and interpret in- 
dividual, personal experiences into "general judg- 
ments," universal condemnations — it was then, in 
short, that I sighted a new world. Optimism for 
the sake of restitution, in order at some time to 
have the right to become a pessimist — do you under- 
stand that ? Just as a physician transfers his patient 
to totally strange surroundings, in order to displace 


him from his entire "past," his troubles, friends, 
letters, duties, stupid mistakes and painful memories, 
and teaches him to stretch out hands and senses to- 
wards new nourishment, a new sun, a new future : 
so I, as physician and invalid in one, forced myself 
into an utterly different and untried zone of the 
soul, and particularly into an absorbing journey 
to a strange land, a strange atmosphere, into a 
curiosity for all that was strange. A long process 
of roaming, seeking, changing followed, a distaste for 
fixity of any kind — a dislike for clumsy affirmation 
and negation : and at the same time a dietary and 
discipline which aimed at making it as easy as pos- 
sible for the soul to fly high, and above all con- 
stantly to fly away. In fact a minimum of life, an 
unfettering from all coarser forms of sensuality, an 
independence in the midst of all marks of outward 
disfavour, together with the pride in being able to 
live in the midst of all this disfavour : a little cyni- 
cism perhaps, a little of the u tub of Diogenes," a 
good deal of whimsical happiness, whimsical gaiety, 
much calm, light, subtle folly, hidden enthusiasm — 
all this produced in the end a great spiritual 
strengthening, a growing joy and exuberance of 
health. Life itself rewards us for our tenacious will 
to life, for such a long war as I waged against the 
pessimistic weariness of life, even for every observ- 
ant glance of our gratitude, glances that do not 
miss the smallest, most delicate, most fugitive 
gifts. ... In the end we receive Life's great gifts, 
perhaps the greatest it can bestow — we regain our 


Should my experience — the history of an illness 
and a convalescence, for it resulted in a convalescence 
— be only my personal experience ? and merely just 
my " Human, All-too-human " ? To-day I would 
fain believe the reverse, for I am becoming more and 
more confident that my books of travel were not 
penned for my sole benefit, as appeared for a time to 
be the case. May I, after six years of growing assur- 
ance, send them once more on a journey for an ex- 
periment? — May I commend them particularly to 
the ears and hearts of those who are afflicted with 
some sort of a " past," and have enough intellect left 
to suffer even intellectually from their past ? But 
above all would I commend them to you whose 
burden is heaviest, you choice spirits, most encom- 
passed with perils, most intellectual, most courage- 
ous, who must be the conscience of the modern soul 
and as such be versed in its science : * in whom is 
concentrated all of disease, poison or danger that 
can exist to-day : whose lot decrees that you must 
be more sick than any individual because you are not 
" mere individuals " : whose consolation it is to know 
and, ah ! to walk the path to a new health, a health 
of to-morrow and the day after : you men of destiny, 
triumphant, conquerors of time, the healthiest and 
the strongest, you good Europeans ! 

To express finally in a single formula my op- 

* It has been attempted to render the play on " Gewissen " 
and"Wissen."— Tr. 


position to the romantic pessimism of the abstinent, 
the unfortunate, the conquered : there is a will to 
the tragic and to pessimism, which is a sign as 
much of the severity as of the strength of the in- 
tellect (taste, emotion, conscience). With this will 
in our hearts we do not fear, but we investigate our- 
selves the terrible and the problematical elements 
characteristic of all existence. Behind such a will 
stand courage and pride and the desire for a really 
great enemy. That was my pessimistic outlook 
from the first — a new outlook, methinks, an outlook 
that even at this day is new and strange ? To this 
moment I hold to it firmly and (if it will be believed) 
not only for myself but occasionally against my- 
self. . . . You would prefer to have that proved 
first ? Well, what else does all this long preface — 
prove ? 

Sils-Maria, Upper Engadine, 
September ■, 1886. 





To the Disillusioned in Philosophy. — If you 
hitherto believed in the highest value of life and 
now find yourselves disillusioned, must you im- 
mediately get rid of life at the lowest possible 
price ? 


OVERNICE. — One can even become overnice as 
regards the clearness of concepts. How disgusted 
one is then at having truck with the half-clear, the 
hazy, the aspiring, the doubting ! How ridiculous 
and yet not mirth-provoking is their eternal flutter- 
ing and straining without ever being able to fly or 
to grasp ! 

The Wooers of Reality. — He who realises 
at last how long and how thoroughly he has been 
befooled, embraces out of spite even the ugliest 
reality. So that in the long run of the world's 
history the best men have always been wooers of 
reality, for the best have always been longest and 
most thoroughly deceived. 


Advance of Freethinking. — The difference 
between past and present freethinking cannot better 
be characterised than by that aphorism for the recog- 
nition and expression of which all the fearlessness of 
the eighteenth century was needed, and which even 
then, if measured by our modern view, sinks into an 
unconscious naivete. I mean Voltaire's aphorism, 
" croyez-moi, mon ami, l'erreur aussi a son merite." 

A Hereditary Sin of Philosophers. — Philo- 
sophers have at all times appropriated arid corrupted 
the maxims of censors of men (moralists), by taking 
them over without qualification and trying to prove 
as necessary what the moralists only meant as a 
rough indication or as a truth suited to their fellow- 
countrymen or fellow-townsmen for a single decade. 
Moreover, the philosophers thought that they were 
thereby raising themselves above the moralists ! 
Thus it will be found that the celebrated teachings 
of Schopenhauer as to the supremacy of the will 
over the intellect, of the immutability of character, 
the negativity of pleasure — all errors, in the sense 
in which he understands them — rest upon principles 
of popular wisdom enunciated by the moralists. 
Take the very word "will," which Schopenhauer 
twisted so as to become a common denotation of 
several human conditions and with which he filled 
a gap in the language (to his own great advantage, 
in so far as he was a moralist, for he became free to 


speak of the will as Pascal had spoken of it). In 
the hands of its creator, Schopenhauer's " will," 
through the philosophic craze for generalisation, 
already turned out to be a bane to knowledge. For 
this will was made into a poetic metaphor, when it 
was held that all things in nature possess will. 
Finally, that it might be applied to all kinds of 
disordered mysticism, the word was misused by a 
fraudulent convention. So now all our fashionable 
philosophers repeat it and seem to be perfectly 
certain that all things have a will and are in fact 
One Will. According to the description generally 
given of this All-One-Will, this is much as if one 
should positively try to have the stupid Devil for 
one's God. 

Against Visionaries. — The visionary denies 
the truth to himself, the liar only to others. 

Enmity to LiGHT.—If we make it clear to any 
one that, strictly, he can never speak of truth, but 
only of probability and of its degrees, we generally 
discover, from the undisguised joy of our pupil, 
how greatly men prefer the uncertainty of their in- 
tellectual horizon, and how in their heart of hearts 
they hate truth because of its definiteness. — Is this 
due to a secret fear felt by all that the light of truth 
may at some time be turned too brightly upon them- 
selves ? To their wish to be of some consequence, 
and accordingly their concealment from the world of 


what they are ? Or is it to be traced to their horror 
of the ail-too brilliant light, to which their crepus- 
cular, easily dazzled, bat-like souls are not accus- 
tomed, so that hate it they must ? 


Christian Scepticism. — Pilate, with his ques- 
tion, " What is Truth ? " is now gleefully brought on 
the scene as an advocate of Christ, in order to cast 
suspicion on all that is known or knowable as being 
mere appearance, and to erect the Cross on the ap- 
palling background of the Impossibility of Know- 


" Natural Law," a Phrase of Superstition. 
— When you talk so delightedly of Nature acting 
according to law, you must either assume that all 
things in Nature follow their law from a voluntary 
obedience imposed by themselves — in which case 
you admire the morality of Nature : or you are en- 
chanted with the idea of a creative mechanician, 
who has made a most cunning watch with human 
beings as accessory ornaments. — Necessity, through 
the expression, " conformity to law," then becomes 
more human and a coign of refuge in the last in- 
stance for mythological reveries. 


Fallen Forfeit to History. — All misty 
philosophers and obscurers of the world, in other 
words all metaphysicians of coarse or refined texture 


are seized with eyeache, earache, and toothache 
when they begin to suspect that there is truth in 
the saying : " All philosophy has from now fallen 
forfeit to history." In view of their aches and pains 
we may pardon them for throwing stones and filth 
at him who talks like this, but this teaching may 
itself thereby become dirty and disreputable for a 
time and lose in effect. 


The Pessimist of the Intellect. — He whose 
intellect is really free will think freely about the in- 
tellect itself, and will not shut his eyes to certain 
terrible aspects of its source and tendency. For 
this reason others will perhaps designate him the 
bitterest opponent of free thought and give him that 
dreadful, abusive name of "pessimist of the in- 
tellect " : accustomed as they are to typify a man 
not by his strong point, his pre-eminent virtue, but 
by the quality that is most foreign to his nature. 


The Metaphysicians' Knapsack. — To all 
who talk so boastfully of the scientific basis of 
their metaphysics it is best to make no reply. 
It is enough to tug at the bundle that they 
rather shyly keep hidden behind their backs. 
If one succeeds in lifting it, the results of that 
" scientific basis " come to light, to their great 
confusion : a dear little " God," a genteel immor- 
tality, perhaps a little spiritualism, and in any case 



a complicated mass of poor-sinners'-misery and 


Occasional Harmfulness of Knowledge. — 
The utility involved in the unchecked investigation of 
knowledge is so constantly proved in a hundred 
different ways that one must remember to include in 
the bargain the subtler and rarer damage which 
individuals must suffer on that account. Thechemist 
cannot avoid occasionally being poisoned or burnt 
at his experiments. What applies to the chemist, 
is true of the whole of our culture. This, it may be 
added, clearly shows that knowledge should provide 
itself with healing balsam against burns and should 
always have antidotes ready against poisons. 


The Craving of the Philistine. — The Philis- 
tine thinks that his most urgent need is a purple 
patch or turban of metaphysics, nor will he let it 
slip. Yet he would look less ridiculous without 
this adornment. 


ENTHUSIASTS. — With all that enthusiasts say in 
favour of their gospel or their master they are de- 
fending themselves, however much they comport 
themselves as the judges and not the accused : 
because they are involuntarily reminded almost at 
every moment that they are exceptions and have 
to assert their legitimacy. 


The Good Seduces to Life. — All good things, 
even all good books that are written against life, 
are strong means of attraction to life. 


The Happiness of the Historian. — "When 
we hear the hair-splitting metaphysicians and pro- 
phets of the after-world speak, we others feel indeed 
that we are the ' poor in spirit,' but that ours is 
the heavenly kingdom of change, with spring and 
autumn, summer and winter, and theirs the after- 
world, with its grey, everlasting frosts and shadows." 
Thus soliloquised a man as he walked in the 
morning sunshine, a man who in his pursuit of 
history has constantly changed not only his mind 
but his heart. In contrast to the metaphysicians, 
he is happy to harbour in himself not an " immortal 
soul " but many mortal souls. 


Three Varieties of Thinkers. — There are 
streaming, flowing, trickling mineral springs, and 
three corresponding varieties of thinkers. The lay- 
man values them by the volume of the water, 
the expert by the contents of the water — in other 
words, by the elements in them that are not water. 


The Picture of Life.— The task of painting 
the picture of life, often as it has been attempted 


by poets and philosophers, is nevertheless irrational. 
Even in the hands of the greatest artist-thinkers, 
pictures and miniatures of one life only — their own 
— have come into being, and indeed no other result 
is possible. While in the process of developing, a 
thing that develops, cannot mirror itself as fixed 
and permanent, as a definite object. 


Truth will have no Gods before it. — The 
belief in truth begins with the doubt of all truths in 
which one has previously believed. 


Where Silence is Required. — If we speak of 
freethinking as of a highly dangerous journey over 
glaciers and frozen seas, we find that those who do 
not care to travel on this track are offended, as if 
they had been reproached with cowardice and 
weak knees. The difficult, which we find to be be- 
yond our powers, must not even be mentioned in 
our presence. 


Historia in Nuce. — The most serious parody 
I ever heard was this : " In the beginning was the 
nonsense, and the nonsense was with God, and the 
nonsense was God." * 

* Cf. John i. i.— Tr. 



Incurable. — The idealist is incorrigible: if he 
be thrown out of his Heaven, he makes himself a 
suitable ideal out of Hell. Disillusion him, and lo ! 
he will embrace disillusionment with no less ardour 
than he recently embraced hope. In so far as his 
impulse belongs to the great incurable impulses of 
human nature, he can bring about tragic destinies 
and later become a subject for tragedy himself, for 
such tragedies as deal with the incurable, implac- 
able, inevitable in the lot and character of man. 


Applause Itself as the Continuation of 
the Play. — Sparkling eyes and an amiable smile 
are the tributes of applause paid to all the great 
comedy of world and existence — but this applause 
is a comedy within a comedy, meant to tempt the 
other spectators to a plaudite amici. 


Courage for Tedium. — He who has not the 
courage to allow himself and his work to be con- 
sidered tedious, is certainly no intellect of the first 
rank, whether in the arts or in the sciences. — A 
scoffer, who happened for once in a way to be a 
thinker, might add, with a glance at the world and 
at history : " God did not possess this courage, for 
he wanted to make and he made all things so in- 



From the Most Intimate Experience of 
the Thinker. — Nothing is harder for a man than 
to conceive of an object impersonally, I mean to 
see in it an object and not a person. One may 
even ask whether it is possible for him to dis- 
pense for a single moment with the machinery of 
his instinct to create and construct a personality. 
After all, he associates with his thoughts, however 
abstract they may be, as with individuals, against 
whom he must fight or to whom he must attach 
himself, whom he must protect, support and nourish. 
Let us watch or listen to ourselves at the moment 
when we hear or discover a new idea. Perhaps it 
displeases us because it is so defiant and so auto- 
cratic, and we unconsciously ask ourselves whether 
we cannot place a contradiction of it by its side as 
an enemy, or fasten on to it a "perhaps" or a 
"sometimes": the mere little word "probably" 
gives us a feeling of satisfaction, for it shatters the 
oppressive tyranny of the unconditional. If, on the 
other hand, the new idea enters in gentle shape, 
sweetly patient and humble, and falling at once 
into the arms of contradiction, we put our autocracy 
to the test in another way. Can we not come to 
the aid of this weak creature, stroke it and feed it, 
give it strength and fulness, and truth and even 
unconditionality ? Is it possible for us to show 
ourselves parental or chivalrous or compassionate 
towards our idea? — Then again, we see here a 
judgment and there a judgment, sundered from 
each other, never looking at or making any move- 


ment towards each other. So we are tickled by 
the thought, whether it be not here feasible to make 
a match, to draw a conclusion, with the anticipation 
that if a consequence follows this conclusion it is 
not only the two judgments united in wedlock but 
the matchmakers that will gain honour. If, how- 
ever, we cannot acquire a hold upon that thought 
either on the path of defiance and ill-will or on that 
of good-will (if we hold it to be true) — then we 
submit to it and do homage to it as a leader and a 
prince, give it a chair of honour, and speak not of 
it without a flourish of trumpets : for we are bright 
in its brightness. Woe to him who tries to dim 
this brightness ! Perhaps we ourselves one day 
grow suspicious of our idea. Then we, the inde- 
fatigable " king-makers * of the history of the intel- 
lect, cast it down from its throne and immediately 
exalt its adversary. Surely if this be considered 
and thought out a little further, no one will speak of 
an " absolute impulse to knowledge " ! 

Why, then, does man prefer the true to the un- 
true, in this secret combat with thought-person- 
alities, in this generally clandestine match-making of 
thoughts, constitution-founding of thoughts, child- 
rearing of thoughts, nursing and almsgiving of 
thoughts ? For the same reason that he practises 
honesty in intercourse with real persons : now from 
habit, heredity, and training, originally because the 
true, like the fair and the just, is more expedient and 
more reputable than the untrue. For in the realm of 
thought it is difficult to assume a power and glory 
that are built on error or on falsehood. The feeling 
that such an edifice might at some time collapse is 


humiliating to the self-esteem of the architect — he is 
ashamed of the fragility of the material, and, as he 
considers himself more important than the rest of 
the world, he would fain construct nothing that is 
less durable than the rest of the world. In his long- 
ing for truth he embraces the belief in a personal 
immortality, the most arrogant and defiant idea 
that exists, closely allied as it is to the underly- 
ing thought, pereat tnundus, dum ego salvus sim ! 
His work has become his "ego," he transforms 
himself into the Imperishable with its universal 
challenge. It is his immeasurable pride that will 
only employ the best and hardest stones for the 
work — truths,' or what he holds for such. Arro- 
gance has always been justly called the "vice of 
the sage " ; yet without this vice, fruitful in impul- 
ses, Truth and her status on earth would be in 
a parlous plight. In our propensity to fear our 
thoughts, concepts and words, and yet to honour 
ourselves in them, unconsciously to ascribe to 
them the power of rewarding, despising, praising, 
and blaming us, and so to associate with them as 
with free intellectual personalities, as with inde- 
pendent powers, as with our equals — herein lie the 
roots of the remarkable phenomenon which I have 
called "intellectual conscience." Thus something 
of the highest moral species has bloomed from a 
black root. 


The Obscurantists.— The essential feature of 
the black art of obscurantism is not its intention 
of clouding the brain, but its attempt to darken 


the picture of the world and cloud our idea of 
existence. It often employs the method of thwart- 
ing all illumination of the intellect, but at times 
it uses the very opposite means, seeking by the 
highest refinement of the intellect to induce a 
satiety of the intellect's fruits. Hair-splitting meta- 
physicians, who pave the way for scepticism and 
by their excessive acumen provoke a distrust of 
acumen, are excellent instruments of the more 
subtle form of obscurantism. — Is it possible that 
even Kant may be applied to this purpose ? Did 
he even intend something of the sort, for a time at 
least, to judge from his own notorious exposition : 
" to clear the way for belief by setting limitations 
to knowledge " ? — Certainly he did not succeed, nor 
did his followers, on the wolf and fox tracks of this 
highly refined and dangerous form of obscurant- 
ism — the most dangerous of all, for the black art 
here appears in the garb of light. 


By what Kind of Philosophy Art is 
Corrupted. — When the mists of a metaphysical- 
mystical philosophy succeed in making all aesthetic 
phenomena opaque, it follows that these phenomena 
cannot be comparatively valued, inasmuch as each 
becomes individually inexplicable. But when once 
they cannot be compared for the sake of valuation, 
there arises an entire absence-of-criticism, a blind 
indulgence. From this source springs a continual 
diminution of the enjoyment of art (which is only 
distinguished from the crude satisfaction of a need 


by the highest refinement of taste and appreciation). 
The more taste diminishes, the more does the desire 
for art change and revert to a vulgar hunger, which 
the artist henceforth seeks to appease by ever coarser 


On Gethsemane.— The most painful thing a 
thinker can say to artists is : " Could ye not watch 
with me one hour?" 


At the Loom. — There are many (artists and 
women, for instance) who work against the few 
that take a pleasure in untying the knot of things 
and unravelling their woof. The former always 
want to weave the woof together again and en- 
tangle it and so turn the conceived into the un- 
conceivedand if possible inconceivable. Whatever 
the result may be, the woof and knot always look 
rather untidy, because too many hands are working 
and tugging at them. 


In the Desert of Science.— As the man of 
science proceeds on his modest and toilsome 
wanderings, which must often enough be journeys 
in the desert, he is confronted with those brilliant 
mirages known as "philosophic systems." With 
magic powers of deception they show him that 
the solution of all riddles and the most refreshing 
draught of true water of life are close at hand. His 
weary heart rejoices, and he well-nigh touches with 


his lips the goal of all scientific endurance and 
hardship, so that almost unconsciously he presses 
forward. Other natures stand still, as if spellbound 
by the beautiful illusion : the desert swallows them 
up, they become lost to science. Other natures, 
again, that have often experienced these subjective 
consolations, become very disheartened and curse 
the salty taste which these mirages leave behind in 
the mouth and from which springs a raging thirst 
— without one's having come one step nearer to any 
sort of a spring. 


The So-called " Real Reality."— When the 
poet depicts the various callings — such as those of 
the warrior, the silk-weaver, the sailor — he feigns to 
know all these things thoroughly, to be an expert. 
Even in the exposition of human actions and des- 
tinies he behaves as if he had been present at the 
spinning of the whole web of existence. In so far 
he is an impostor. He practises his frauds on pure 
ignoramuses, and that is why he succeeds. They 
praise him for his deep, genuine knowledge, and 
lead him finally into the delusion that he really 
knows as much as the individual experts and 
creators, yes, even as the great world-spinners 
themselves. In the end, the impostor becomes 
honest, and actually believes in his own sincerity. 
Emotional people say to his very face that he has 
the "higher" truth and sincerity — for they are 
weary of reality for the time being, and accept the 
poetic dream as a pleasant relaxation and a night's 
rest for head and heart. The visions of the dream 


now appear to them of more value, because, as has 
been said, they find them more beneficial, and man- 
kind has always held that what is apparently of 
more value is more true, more real. All that is 
generally called reality, the poets, conscious of this 
power, proceed with intention to disparage and to 
distort into the uncertain, the illusory, the spurious, 
the impure, the sinful, sorrowful, and deceitful. They 
make use of all doubts about the limits of knowledge, 
of all sceptical excesses, in order to spread over every- 
thing the rumpled veil of uncertainty. For they 
desire that when this darkening process is complete 
their wizardry and soul-magic may be accepted 
without hesitation as the path to " true truth " and 
" real reality." 


The Wish to be Just and the Wish to be 
A Judge. — Schopenhauer, whose profound under- 
standing of what is human and all-too-human and 
original sense for facts was not a little impaired by 
the bright leopard-skin of his metaphysic (the skin 
must first be pulled off him if one wants to find the 
real moralist genius beneath) — Schopenhauermakes 
this admirable distinction, wherein he comes far 
nearer the mark than he would himself dare to ad- 
mit : " Insight into the stern necessity of human 
actions is the boundary line that divides philoso- 
phic from other brains." He worked against that 
wonderful insight of which he was sometimes 
capable by the prejudice that he had in common 
with the moral man (not the moralist), a prejudice 
that he expresses quite guilelessly and devoutly as 


follows : "The ultimate and true explanation of the 
inner being of the entirety of things must of neces- 
sity be closely connected with that about the ethical 
significance of human actions." This connection is 
not " necessary " at all : such a connection must 
rather be rejected by that principle of the stern 
necessity of human actions, that is, the unconditioned 
non- freedom and non -responsibility of the will. 
Philosophic brains will accordingly be distinguished 
from others by their disbelief in the metaphysical 
significance of morality. This must create between 
the two kinds of brain a gulf of a depth and un- 
bridgeableness of which the much-deplored gulf 
between "cultured " and " uncultured " scarcely gives 
a conception. It is true that many back doors, which 
the " philosophic brains," like Schopenhauer's own, 
have left for themselves, must be recognised as 
useless. None leads into the open, into the fresh 
air of the free will, but every door through which 
people had slipped hitherto showed behind it once 
more the gleaming brass wall of fate. For we are 
in a prison, and can only dream of freedom, not 
make ourselves free. That the recognition of this 
fact cannot be resisted much longer is shown by 
the despairing and incredible postures and grimaces 
of those who still press against it and continue their 
wrestling-bout with it. Their attitude at present 
is something like this : " So no one is responsible 
for his actions? And all is full of guilt and the 
consciousness of guilt ? But some one must be the 
sinner. If it is no longer possible or permissible 
to accuse and sentence the individual, the one poor 
wave in the inevitable rough-and-tumble of the 


waves of development — well, then, let this stormy 
sea, this development itself, be the sinner. Here is 
free will : this totality can be accused and sentenced, 
can atone and expiate. So let God be the sinner and 
man his redeemer. Let the world's history be guilt, 
expiation, and self-murder. Let the evil-doer be his 
own judge, the judge his own hangman." This 
Christianity strained to its limits — for what else is 
it? — is the last thrust in the fencing-match between 
the teaching of unconditioned morality and the • 
teaching of unconditioned non-freedom. It would 
be quite horrible if it were anything more than a 
logical pose, a hideous grimace of the underlying 
thought, perhaps the death-convulsion of the heart 
that seeks a remedy in its despair, the heart to which 
delirium whispers: "Behold, thou art the lamb 
which taketh away the sin of God." This error lies 
not only in the feeling," I am responsible," but just as 
much in the contradiction, " I am not responsible, 
but some one must be." That is simply not true. 
Hence the philosopher must say, like Christ, " Judge * 
not," and the final distinction between the philo- 
sophic brains and the others would be that the 
former wish to be just and the latter wish to be 


Sacrifice. — You hold that sacrifice is the hall- 
mark of moral action ? — Just consider whether in 
every action that is done with deliberation, in the 
best as in the worst, there be not a sacrifice. 


Against the "Triers of the Reins" of 
Morality. — One must know the best and the 
worst that a man is capable of in theory and in 
practice before one can judge how strong his moral 
nature is and can be. But this is an experiment 
that one can never carry out. 


Serpent's Tooth. — Whether we have a serpent's 
tooth or not we cannot know before some one has 
set his heel upon our necks. A wife or a mother 
could say : until some one has put his heel upon the 
neck of our darling, our child. — Our character is 
determined more by the absence of certain ex- 
periences than by the experiences we have under- 


Deception in Love. — We forget and purposely 
banish from our minds a good deal of our past. 
In other words, we wish our picture, that beams at 
us from the past, to belie us, to flatter our vanity — 
we are constantly engaged in this self-deception. 
And you who talk and boast so much of " self- 
oblivion in love," of the " absorption of the ego in 
the other person " — you hold that this is something 
different ? So you break the mirror, throw your- 
selves into another personality that you admire, 
and enjoy the new portrait of your ego, though 
calling it by the other person's name — and this 


whole proceeding is not to be thought self-deception, 
self-seeking, you marvellous beings ? — It seems to 
me that those who hide something of themselves 
from themselves, or hide their whole selves from 
themselves, are alike committing a theft from the 
treasury of knowledge. It is clear, then, against 
what transgression the maxim "Know thyself" is 
a warning. 


To the Denier of his Vanity.— He who 
denies his own vanity usually possesses it in so 
brutal a form that he instinctively shuts his eyes 
to avoid the necessity of despising himself. 


Why the Stupid so often Become Mal- 
ignant. — To those arguments of our adversary 
against which our head feels too weak our heart 
replies by throwing suspicion on the motives of his 


The Art of Moral Exceptions. — An art that 
points out and glorifies the exceptional cases of 
morality — where the good becomes bad and the 
unjust just — should rarely be given a hearing : just 
as now and again we buy something from gipsies, 
with the fear that they are diverting to their own 
pockets much more than their mere profit from the 


Enjoyment and Non-enjoyment of Poisons. 
— The only decisive argument that has always 
deterred men from drinking a poison is not that it 
is deadly, but that it has an unpleasant taste. 


The World without Consciousness of Sin. 
— If men only committed such deeds as do not 
give rise to a bad conscience, the human world 
would still look bad and rascally enough, but not 
so sickly and pitiable as at present. — Enough 
wicked men without conscience have existed at all 
times, and many good honest folk lack the feeling 
of pleasure in a good conscience. 


The Conscientious. — It is more convenient to 
follow one's conscience than one's intelligence, for 
at every failure conscience finds an excuse and an 
encouragement in itself. That is why there are so 
many conscientious and so few intelligent people. 


Opposite Means of Avoiding Bitterness. — 
One temperament finds it useful to be able to give 
vent to its disgust in words, being made sweeter by 
speech. Another reaches its full bitterness only by 
speaking out : it is more advisable for it to have to 
gulp down something — the restraint that men of this 



stamp place upon themselves in the presence of 
enemies and superiors improves their character and 
prevents it from becoming too acrid and sour. 

Not to be Too Dejected.— To get bed-sores 
is unpleasant, but no proof against the merits of the 
cure that prescribes that you should take to your 
bed. Men who have long lived outside themselves, 
and have at last devoted themselves to the inward 
philosophic life, know that one can also get sores of 
character and intellect. This, again, is on the whole 
no argument against the chosen way of life, but 
necessitates a few small exceptions and apparent 


The Human "Thing in Itself." — The most 
vulnerable and yet most unconquerable of things 
is human vanity : nay, through being wounded its 
strength increases and can grow to giant propor- 


The Farce of Many Industrious Persons. 
— By an excess of effort they win leisure for them- 
selves, and then they can do nothing with it but 
count the hours until the tale is ended. 


The Possession of Joy Abounding. — He that 
has joy abounding must be a good man, but perhaps 


he is not the cleverest of men, although he has 
reached the very goal towards which the cleverest 
man is striving with all his cleverness. 


In the Mirror of Nature.— Is not a man 
fairly well described, when we are told that he likes 
to walk between tall fields of golden corn : that he 
prefers the forest and flower colours of sere and 
chilly autumn to all others, because they point to 
something more beautiful than Nature has ever 
attained : that he feels as much at home under big 
broad -leaved walnut trees as among his nearest 
kinsfolk : that in the mountains his greatest joy is to 
come across those tiny distant lakes from which the 
very eyes of solitude seem to peer at him : that he 
loves that grey calm of the misty twilight that steals 
along the windows on autumn and early winter 
evenings and shuts out all soulless sounds as with 
velvet curtains : that in unhewn stones he recognises 
the last remaining traces of the primeval age, eager 
for speech, and honours them from childhood up- 
wards : that, lastly, the sea with its shifting serpent 
skin and wild-beast beauty is, and remains to him, 
unfamiliar? — Yes, something of the man is described 
herewith, but the mirror of Nature does not say that 
the same man, with (and not even " in spite of") all 
his idyllic sensibilities, might be disagreeable, stingy, 
and conceited. Horace, who was a good judge of 
such matters, in his famous beatus Me qui procul 
negotiis puts the tenderest feeling for country life 
into the mouth of a Roman money-lender. 



Power without Victory. — The strongest cogn i- 
tion (that of the complete non-freedom of the human 
will) is yet the poorest in results, for it has always 
had the mightiest of opponents — human vanity. 

Pleasure and Error. — A beneficial influence 
on friends is exerted by one man unconsciously, 
through his nature ; by another consciously, through 
isolated actions. Although the former nature is 
held to be the higher, the latter alone is allied to 
good conscience and pleasure — the pleasure in justi- 
fication by good works, which rests upon a belief in 
the volitional character of our good and evil doing 
— that is to say, upon a mistake. 


The Folly of Committing Injustice.— The 
injustice we have inflicted ourselves is far harder to 
bear than the injustice inflicted upon us by others (not 
always from moral grounds, be it observed). After all, 
the doer is always the sufferer — that is, if he be capable 
of feeling the sting of conscience or of perceiving that 
by his action he has armed society against himself 
and cut himself off. For this reason we should be- 
ware still more of doing than of suffering injustice, 
for the sake of our own inward happiness — so as 
not to lose our feeling of well-being — quite apart 
from any consideration of the precepts of religion 
and morality. For in suffering injustice we have 


the consolation of a good conscience, of hope and of 
revenge, together with the sympathy and applause of 
the just, nay of the whole of society, which is afraid 
of the evil-doer. Not a few are skilled in the impure 
self-deception that enables them to transform every 
injustice of their own into an injustice inflicted upon 
them from without, and to reserve for their own acts 
the exceptional right to the plea of self-defence. 
Their object, of course, is to make their own burden 

Envy with or without a Mouthpiece.— 
Ordinary envy is wont to cackle when the envied 
hen has laid an Ggg } thereby relieving itself and be- 
coming milder. But there is a yet deeper envy that 
in such a case becomes dead silent, desiring that 
every mouth should be sealed and always more and 
more angry because this desire is not gratified. 
Silent envy grows in silence. 

Anger as a Spy. — Anger exhausts the soul and 
brings its very dregs to light. Hence, if we know 
no other means of gaining certainty, we must under- 
stand how to arouse anger in our dependents and 
adversaries, in order to learn what is really done and 
thought to our detriment. 

Defence Morally more Difficult than 
Attack. — The true heroic deed and masterpiece of 


the good man does not lie in attacking opinions and 
continuing to love their propounders, but in the far 
harder task of defending his own position without 
causing or intending to cause bitter heartburns to 
his opponent. The sword of attack is honest and 
broad, the sword of defence usually runs out to a 
needle point. 


Honest towards Honesty. — One who is 
openly honest towards himself ends by being rather 
conceited about this honesty. He knows only too 
well why he is honest — for the same reason that 
another man prefers outward show and hypocrisy. 

COALS of Fire. — The heaping of coals of fire on 
another's head is generally misunderstood and falls 
flat, because the other knows himself to be just as 
much in the right, and on his side too has thought 
of collecting coals. 

Dangerous Books.— A man says: "Judging 
from my own case, I find that this book is harmful." 
Let him but wait, and perhaps one day he will con- 
fess that the book did him a great service by thrust- 
ing forward and bringing to light the hidden disease 
of his soul. — Altered opinions alter not at all (or 
very little) the character of a man : but they illu- 
minate individual facets of his personality, which 
hitherto, in another constellation of opinions, had 
remained dark and unrecognisable. 


Simulated Pity. — We simulate pity when we 
wish to show ourselves superior to the feeling of 
animosity, but generally in vain. This point is not 
noticed without a considerable enhancement of that 
feeling of animosity. 


Open Contradiction often Conciliatory. 
— At the moment when a man openly makes known 
his difference of opinion from a well-known party 
leader, the whole world thinks that he must be 
angry with the latter. Sometimes, however, he is 
just on the point of ceasing to be angry with him. 
He ventures to put himself on the same plane as 
his opponent, and is free from the tortures of sup- 
pressed envy. 


Seeing our Light Shining. — In the darkest 
hour of depression, sickness, and guilt, we are still 
glad to see others taking a light from us and making 
use of us as of the disk of the moon. By this round- 
about route we derive some light from our own illu- 
minating faculty. 


Fellowship in Joy.*— The snake that stings 
us means to hurt us and rejoices in so doing : the 
lowest animal can picture to itself the pain of others. 

* The German word \Mitfrende^ coined by Nietzsche in 
opposition to Mitleid (sympathy), is untranslateable. — Tr. 


But to picture to oneself the joy of others and to 
rejoice thereat is the highest privilege of the highest 
animals, and again, amongst them, is the property- 
only of the most select specimens — accordingly a 
rare " human thing." Hence there have been philo- 
sophers who denied fellowship in joy. 

Supplementary Pregnancy.— Thosewhohave 
arrived at works and deeds are in an obscure way, 
they know not how, all the more pregnant with them, 
as if to prove supplementarily that these are their 
children and not those of chance. 

Hard-hearted from Vanity. — Just as justice 
is so often a cloak for weakness, so men who are 
fairly intelligent, but weak, sometimes attempt dis- 
simulation from ambitious motives and purposely 
show themselves unjust and hard, in order to leave 
behind them the impression of strength. 


Humiliation. — If in a large sack of profit we 
find a single grain of humiliation we still make a 
wry face even at our good luck. 

Extreme Herostratism.*— There might be 

* Herostratus of Ephesus (in 356 B.C.) set fire to the temple 
of Diana in order (as he confessed on the rack) to gain 
notoriety. — Tr. 


Herostratuses who set fire to their own temple, in 
which their images are honoured. 

6 7 . 

A World of Diminutives. — The fact that all 
that is weak and in need of help appeals to the 
heart induces in us the habit of designating by- 
diminutive and softening terms all that appeals to 
our hearts — and accordingly making such things 
weak and clinging to our imaginations. 


The Bad Characteristic of Sympathy. — 
Sympathy has a peculiar impudence for its com- 
panion. For, wishing to help at all costs, sympathy- 
is in no perplexity either as to the means of assist- 
ance or as to the nature and cause of the disease, 
and goes on courageously administering all its 
quack medicines to restore the health and reputa- 
tion of the patient. 


IMPORTUNACY. — There is even an importunacy 
in relation to works, and the act of associating one- 
self from early youth on an intimate footing with 
the illustrious works of all times evinces an entire 
absence of shame. — Others are only importunate 
from ignorance, not knowing with whom they have 
to do — for instance classical scholars young and old 
in relation to the works of the Greeks. 



The Will is Ashamed of the Intellect.— 
In all coolness we make reasonable plans against 
our passions. But we make the most serious mis- 
take in this connection in being often ashamed, 
when the design has to be carried out, of the cool- 
ness and calculation with which we conceived it. 
So we do just the unreasonable thing, from that 
sort of defiant magnanimity that every passion in- 

Why the Sceptics Offend Morality. — He 
who takes his morality solemnly and seriously is 
enraged against the sceptics in the domain of morals. 
For where he lavishes all his force, he wishes others 
to marvel but not to investigate and doubt. Then 
there are natures whose last shred of morality is 
just the belief in morals. They behave in the same 
way towards sceptics, if possible still more passion- 


SHYNESS. — All moralists are shy, because they 
know they are confounded with spies and traitors, 
so soon as their penchant is noticed. Besides, they 
are generally conscious of being impotent in action, 
for in the midst of work the motives of their activity 
almost withdraw their attention from the work. 

A Danger to Universal Morality.-— People 
who are at the same time noble and honest come 


to deify every devilry that brings out their honesty, 
and to suspend for a time the balance of their moral 

The Saddest Error. — It is an unpardonable 
offence when one discovers that where one was con- 
vinced of being loved, one is only regarded as a 
household utensil and decoration, whereby the 
master of the house can find an outlet for his 
vanity before his guests. 

Love and Duality. — What else is love but 
understanding and rejoicing that another lives, 
works, and feels in a different and opposite way to 
ourselves ? That love may be able to bridge over 
the contrasts by joys, w.e must not remove or deny 
those contrasts. Even self-love presupposes an irre- 
concileable duality (or plurality) in one person. 


Signs from Dreams. — What one sometimes 
does not know and feel accurately in waking hours 
— whether one has a good or a bad conscience as 
regards some person — is revealed completely and 
unambiguously by dreams. 

Debauchery. — Not joy but joylessness is the 
mother of debauchery. 



Reward and Punishment. — No one accuses 
without an underlying notion of punishment and 
revenge, even when he accuses his fate or himself. 
All complaint is accusation, all self-congratulation 
is praise. Whether we do one or the other, we 
always make some one responsible. 

Doubly Unjust. — We sometimes advance truth 
by a twofold injustice : when we see and represent 
consecutively the two sides of a case which we are 
not in a position to see together, but in such a way 
that every time we mistake or deny the other side, 
fancying that what we see is the whole truth. 


MISTRUST. — Self-mistrust does not always pro- 
ceed uncertainly and shyly, but sometimes in a 
furious rage, having worked itself into a frenzy in 
order not to tremble. 


Philosophy of Parvenus. — If you want to be 
a personality you must even hold your shadow in 


Knowing how to Wash Oneself Clean.— 
We must know how to emerge cleaner from unclean 
conditions, and, if necessary, how to wash ourselves 
even with dirty water. 


Letting Yourself Go. — The more you let 
yourself go, the less others let you go. 


The Innocent Rogue.— There is a slow, grad- 
ual path to vice and rascality of every description. 
In the end, the traveller is quite abandoned by the 
insect-swarms of a bad conscience, and although a 
thorough scoundrel he walks in innocence. 

Making Plans. — Making plans and conceiving 
projects involves many agreeable sentiments. He 
that had the strength to be nothing but a contriver 
of plans all his life would be a happy man. But 
one must occasionally have a rest from this activity 
by carrying a plan into execution, and then comes 
anger and sobriety. 


Wherewith We See the Ideal. — Every effi- 
cient man is blocked by his efficiency and cannot 
look out freely from its prison. Had he not also 
a goodly share of imperfection, he could, by reason 
of his virtue, never arrive at an intellectual or moral 
freedom. Our shortcomings are the eyes with 
which we see the ideal. 

Dishonest Praise.— Dishonest praise causes 
many more twinges of conscience than dishonest 


blame, probably only because we have exposed our 
capacity for judgment far more completely through 
excessive praise than through excessive and unjust 


How One Dies is Indifferent. — The whole 
way in which a man thinks of death during the prime 
of his life and strength is very expressive and sig- 
nificant for what we call his character. But the hour 
of death itself, his behaviour on the death-bed, is 
almost indifferent. The exhaustion of waning life, 
especially when old people die, the irregular or in- 
sufficient nourishment of the brain during this last 
period, the occasionally violent pain, the novel and 
untried nature of the whole position, and only too 
often the ebb and flow of superstitious impressions 
and fears, as if dying were of much consequence and 
meant the crossing of bridges of the most terrible 
kind — all this forbids our using death as a testimony 
concerning the living. Nor is it true that the dying 
man is generally more honest than the living. On 
the contrary, through the solemn attitude of the 
bystanders, the repressed or flowing streams of tears 
and emotions, every one is inveigled into a comedy 
of vanity, now conscious, now unconscious. The 
serious way in which every dying man is treated 
must have been to many a poor despised devil the 
highest joy of his whole life and a sort of compensa- 
tion and repayment for many privations. 

Morality and its Sacrifice. — The origin of 
morality may be traced to two ideas : " The com- 


munity is of more value than the individual," and 
" The permanent interest is to be preferred to the 
temporary." The conclusion drawn is that the per- 
manent interest of the community is unconditionally 
to be set above the temporary interest of the indi- 
vidual, especially his momentary well-being, but also 
his permanent interest and even the prolongation 
of his existence. Even if the individual suffers 
by an arrangement that suits the mass, even if he 
is depressed and ruined by it, morality must be 
maintained and the victim brought to the sacrifice. 
Such a trend of thought arises, however, only in 
those who are not the victims — for in the victim's 
case it enforces the claim that the individual might 
be worth more than the many, and that the present 
enjoyment, the " moment in paradise," * should per- 
haps be rated higher than a tame succession of 
untroubled or comfortable circumstances. But the 
philosophy of the sacrificial victim always finds voice 
too late, and so victory remains with morals and 
morality : which are really nothing more than the 
sentiment for the whole concept of morals under 
which one lives and has been reared — and reared 
not as an individual but as a member of the whole, 
as a cipher in a majority. Hence it constantly 
happens that the individual makes himself into a 
majority by means of his morality. 


The Good and the Good Conscience.— You 
hold that all good things have at all times had a 

* Quotation from Schiller, Don Carlos, i. 5.— Tr. 


good conscience? Science, which is certainly a 
very good thing, has come into the world without 
such a conscience and quite free from all pathos, 
rather clandestinely, by roundabout ways, walking 
with shrouded or masked face like a sinner, and 
always with the feeling at least of being a smuggler. 
Good conscience has bad conscience for its stepping- 
stone, not for its opposite. For all that is good has 
at one time been new and consequently strange, 
against morals, immoral, and has gnawed like a 
worm at the heart of the fortunate discoverer. 


Success Sanctifies the Intentions. — We 
should not shrink from treading the road to a virtue, 
even when we see clearly that nothing but egotism, 
and accordingly utility, personal comfort, fear, con- 
siderations of health, reputation, or glory, are the 
impelling motives. These motives are styled ignoble 
and selfish. Very well, but if they stimulate us to 
some virtue — for example, self-denial, dutifulness, 
order, thrift, measure, and moderation — let us listen 
to them, whatever their epithets may be ! For if 
we reach the goal to which they summon us, then 
the virtue we have attained, by means of the pure 
air it makes us breathe and the spiritual well-being 
it communicates, ennobles the remoter impulses of 
our action, and afterwards we no longer perform 
those actions from the same coarse motives that 
inspired us before. — Education should therefore force 
the virtues on the pupil, as far as possible, according 
to his disposition. Then virtue, the sunshine and 


summer atmosphere of the soul, can contribute her 
own share of work and add mellowness and sweet- 


Dabblers in Christianity, not Christians. 
— So that is your Christianity ! — To annoy humanity 
you praise "God and His Saints," and again when 
you want to praise humanity you go so far that 
God and His Saints must be annoyed. — I wish you 
would at least learn Christian manners, as you are 
so deficient in the civility of the Christian heart. 

The Religious and Irreligious Impression 
OF Nature. — A true believer must be to us an 
object of veneration, but the same holds good of a 
true, sincere, convinced unbeliever. With men of 
the latter stamp we are near to the high mountains 
where mighty rivers have their source, and with 
believers we are under vigorous, shady, restful trees. 

Judicial Murder.— The two greatest judicial 
murders * in the world's history are, to speak without 
exaggeration, concealed and well-concealed suicide. 
In both cases a man willed to die, and in both cases 
he let his breast be pierced by the sword in the 
hand of human injustice. 

" Love." — The finest artistic conception wherein 
Christianity had the advantage over other religious 

* This, of course, refers to Jesus and Socrates. — Tr. 
vol. 11. D 


systems lay in one word — Love. Hence it became 
the lyric religion (whereas in its two other creations 
Semitism bestowed heroico-epical religions upon 
the world). In the word " love " there is so much 
meaning, so much that stimulates and appeals to 
memory and hope, that even the meanest intelli- 
gence and the coldest heart feel some glimmering 
of its sense. The cleverest woman and the lowest 
man think of the comparatively unselfish moments 
of their whole life, even if with them Eros never 
soared high : and the vast number of beings who 
miss love from their parents or children or sweet- 
hearts, especially those whose sexual instincts have 
been refined away, have found their heart's desire 
in Christianity. 


The Fulfilment of Christianity. — In 
Christianity there is also an Epicurean trend of 
thought, starting from the idea that God can only 
demand of man, his creation and his image, what it 
is possible for man to fulfil, and accordingly that 
Christian virtue and perfection are attainable and 
often attained., Now, for instance, the belief in loving 
one's enemies — even if it is only a belief or fancy, 
and by no means a psychological reality (a real 
love) — gives unalloyed happiness, so long as it is 
genuinely believed. (As to the reason of this, 
psychologist and Christian might well differ.) 
Hence earthly life, through the belief, I mean the 
fancy, that it satisfies not only the injunction to 
love our enemies, but all the other injunctions of 
Christianity, and that it has really assimilated 


and embodied in itself the Divine perfection accord- 
ing to the command, " Be perfect as your Father 
in heaven is perfect," might actually become a 
holy life. Thus error can make Christ's promise 
come true. 


Of the Future of Christianity.— We may 
be allowed to form a conjecture as to the dis- 
appearance of Christianity and as to the places 
where it will be the slowest to retreat, if we con- 
sider where and for what reasons Protestantism 
spread with such startling rapidity. As is well 
known, Protestantism promised to do far more 
cheaply all that the old Church did, without costly 
masses, pilgrimages, and priestly pomp and circum- 
stance. It spread particularly among the Northern 
nations, which were not so deeply rooted as those 
of the South in the old Church's symbolism and 
love of ritual. In the South the more powerful 
pagan religion survived in Christianity, whereas in 
the North Christianity meant an opposition to 
and a break with the old-time creed, and hence 
was from the first more thoughtful and less sensual, 
but for that very reason, in times of peril, more 
fanatical and more obstinate. If from the stand- 
point of thought we succeed in uprooting Christi- 
anity, we can at once know the point where it will 
begin to disappear — the very point at which it will 
be most stubborn in defence. In other places it 
will bend but not break, lose its leaves but burst 
into leaf afresh, because the senses, and not thought, 
have gone over to its side. But it is the senses 


that maintain the belief that with all its expensive 
outlay the Church is more cheaply and conveniently 
managed than under the stern conditions of work 
and wages. Yet what does one hold leisure (or 
semi-idleness) to be worth, when once one has be- 
come accustomed to it ? The senses plead against 
a dechristianised world, saying that there would 
be too much work to do in it and an insufficient 
supply of leisure. They take the part of magic — 
that is, they let God work himself [premus nos, Deus 

Theatricality and Honesty of Un- 
believers. — There is no book that contains in 
such abundance or expresses so faithfully all that 
man occasionally finds salutary — ecstatic inward 
happiness, ready for sacrifice or death in the belief 
in and contemplation of his truth — as the book 
that tells of Christ. From that book a clever man 
may learn all the means whereby a book can be 
made into a world-book, a vade-mecum for all, and 
especially that master-means of representing every- 
thing as discovered, nothing as future and uncertain. 
All influential books try to leave the same impres- 
sion, as if the widest intellectual horizon were cir- 
cumscribed here and as if about the sun that shines 
here every constellation visible at present or in the 
future must revolve. — Must not then all purely 
scientific books be poor in influence on the same 
grounds as such books are rich in influence? Is 
not the book fated to live humble and among 
humble folk, in order to be crucified in the end 
and never resurrected? In relation to what the 


religious inform us of their " knowledge " and their 
"holy spirit," are not all upright men of science 
" poor in spirit " ? Can any religion demand more 
self-denial and draw the selfish out of themselves 
more inexorably than science ? — This and similar 
things we may say, in any case with a certain 
theatricality, when we have to defend ourselves 
against believers, for it is impossible to conduct a 
defence without a certain amount of theatricality. 
But between ourselves our language must be more 
honest, and we employ a freedom that those be- 
lievers are not even allowed, in their own interests, 
to understand. Away, then, with the monastic 
cowl of self-denial, with the appearance of humility ! 
Much more and much better — so rings our truth ! 
If science were not linked with the pleasure of 
knowledge, the utility of the thing known, what 
should we care for science? If a little faith, love, 
and hope did not lead our souls to knowledge, 
what would attract us to science ? And if in science 
the ego means nothing, still the inventive, happy 
ego, every upright and industrious ego, means a 
great deal in the republic of the men of science. 
The homage of those who pay homage, the joy of 
those whom we wish well or honour, in some cases 
glory and a fair share of immortality, is the personal 
reward for every suppression of personality : to say 
nothing here of meaner views and rewards, although 
it is just on this account that the majority have sworn 
and always continue to swear fidelity to the laws of 
the republic and of science. If we had not remained 
in some degree unscientific, what would science 
matter to us? Taking everything together and 


speaking in plain language : " To a purely knowing 
being knowledge would be indifferent." — Not the 
quality but the quantity of faith and devoutness 
distinguishes us from the pious, the believers. We 
are content with less. But should one of them cry 
out to us : " Be content and show yourselves con- 
tented ! " we could easily answer : "As a matter 
of fact, we do not belong to the most discontented 
class. But you, if your faith makes you happy, 
show yourselves to be happy. Your faces have 
always done more harm to your faith than our 
reasons ! If that glad message of your Bible were 
written in your faces, you would not need to de- 
mand belief in the authority of that book in such 
stiff-necked fashion. Your words, your actions 
should continually make the Bible superfluous — in 
fact, through you a new Bible should continually 
come into being. As it is, your apologia for 
Christianity is rooted in your unchristianity, and 
with your defence you write your own condemna- 
tion. If you, however, should wish to emerge from 
your dissatisfaction with Christianity, you should 
ponder over the experience of two thousand years, 
which, clothed in the modest form of a question, 
may be voiced as follows : " If Christ really in- 
tended to redeem the world, may he not be said 
to have failed ? " 


The Poet as Guide to the Future. — All 

the surplus poetical force that still exists in modern 

humanity, but is not used under our conditions of 

life, should (without any deduction) be devoted to 


a definite goal — not to depicting the present nor to 
reviving and summarising the past, but to pointing 
the way to the future. Nor should this be so 
done as if the poet, like an imaginative political 
economist, had to anticipate a more favourable 
national and social state of things and picture their 
realisation. Rather will he, just as the earlier 
poets portrayed the images of the Gods, portray 
the fair images of men. He will divine those cases 
where, in the midst of our modern world and reality 
(which will not be shirked or repudiated in the 
usual poetic fashion), a great, noble soul is still 
possible, where it may be embodied in harmonious, 
equable conditions, where it may become perma- 
nent, visible, and representative of a type, and so, by 
the stimulus to imitation and envy, help to create 
the future. The poems of such a poet would be 
distinguished by appearing secluded and protected 
from the heated atmosphere of the passions. The 
irremediable failure, the shattering of all the strings 
of the human instrument, the scornful laughter and 
gnashing of teeth, and all tragedy and comedy in 
the usual old sense, would appear by the side of 
this new art as mere archaic lumber, a blurring of 
the outlines of the world-picture. Strength, kind- 
ness, gentleness, purity, and an unsought, innate 
moderation in the personalities and their action : a 
levelled soil, giving rest and pleasure to the foot : a 
shining heaven mirrored in faces and events : science 
and art welded into a new unity : the mind living 
together with her sister, the soul, without arrogance 
or jealousy, and enticing from contrasts the grace 
of seriousness, not the impatience of discord — all 


this would be the general environment, the back- 
ground on which the delicate differences of the em- 
bodied ideals would make the real picture, that of 
ever-growing human majesty. Many roads to this 
poetry of the future start from Goethe, but the quest 
needs good pathfinders and above all a far greater 
strength than is possessed by modern poets, who 
unscrupulously represent the half-animal and the 
immaturity and intemperance that are mistaken 
by them for power and naturalness. 

The Muse as Penthesilea * — " Better to rot 
than to be a woman without charm." When once 
the Muse thinks thus, the end of her art is again 
at hand. But it can be a tragic and also a comic 

The Circuitous Path to the Beautiful. — 
If the beautiful is to be identified with that which 
gives pleasure — and thus sang the Muses once — 
the useful is often the necessary circuitous path 
to the beautiful, and has a perfect right to spurn 
the short-sighted censure of men who live for the 
moment, who will not wait, and who think that 
they can reach all good things without ever taking 
a circuitous path. 


An Excuse for many a Transgression.— The 
ceaseless desire to create, the eternal looking out- 

* Queen of the Amazons, slain by Achilles in the Trojan 
War.— Tr. 


ward of the artist, hinders him from becoming better 
and more beautiful as a personality : unless his crav- 
ing for glory be great enough to compel him to 
exhibit in his relations with other men a growth 
corresponding to the growing beauty and greatness 
of his works. In any case he has but a limited 
measure of strength, and how could the proportion 
of strength that he spends on himself be of any 
benefit to his work — or vice versa ? 


Satisfying the Best People. — If we have sat- 
isfied the best people of our time with our art, it is 
a sign that we shall not satisfy the best people of 
the succeeding period. We have indeed " lived for 
all time," and the applause of the best people ensures 
our fame.* 


Of One Substance. — If we are of one substance 
with a book or a work of art, we think in our heart 
of hearts that it must be excellent, and are offended 
if others find it ugly, over-spiced, or pretentious. 


Speech and Emotion. — That speech is not given 

to us to communicate our emotions may be seen 

from the fact that all simple men are ashamed to 

seek for words to express their deeper feelings. These 

* From Schiller, Wallensteiii s Lager : " Wer den Besten 
seiner Zeit genug gethan, der hat gelebt fur alle Zeiten" 
(" He that has satisfied the best men of his time has lived for 
all time "). 


feelings are expressed only in actions, and even here 
such men blush if others seem to divine their motives. 
After all, among poets, to whom God generally 
denies this shame, the more noble are more mono- 
syllabic in the language of emotion, and evince a 
certain constraint : whereas the real poets of emotion 
are for the most part shameless in practical life. 

1 06. 

A Mistake about a Privation.— He that has 
not for a long time been completely weaned from an 
art, and is still always at home in it, has no idea how 
small a privation it is to live without that art. 


Three-quarter Strength. — A work that is 
meant to give an impression of health should be 
produced with three-quarters, at the most, of the 
strength of its creator. If he has gone to his farthest 
limit, the work excites the observer and disconcerts 
him by its tension. All good things have some- 
thing lazy about them and lie like cows in the 


Refusing to have Hunger as a Guest.— As 
refined fare serves a hungry man as well as and no 
better than coarser food, the more pretentious artist 
will not dream of inviting the hungry man to his 


Living without Art and Wine. — It is with 
works of art as with wine — it is better if one can do 


without both and keep to water, and if from the 
inner fire and inner sweetness of the soul the water 
spontaneously changes again into wine. 


The Pirate-Genius.— The pirate-genius in art, 
who even knows how to deceive subtle minds, arises 
when some one unscrupulously and from youth up- 
wards regards all good things, that are not protected 
by law, as the property of a particular person, as his 
legitimate spoil. Now all the good things of past 
ages and masters lie free around us, hedged about 
and protected by the reverential awe of the few who 
know them. To these few our robber-genius, by 
the force of his impudence, bids defiance and ac- 
cumulates for himself a wealth that once more calls 
forth homage and awe. 


To the Poets of Great Towns. — In the gar- 
dens of modern poetry it will clearly be observed 
that the sewers of great towns are too near. With 
the fragrance of flowers is mingled something that 
betrays abomination and putrescence. With pain I 
ask : " Must you poets always request wit and dirt 
to stand godfather, when an innocent and beautiful 
sensation has to be christened by you ? Are you 
obliged to dress your noble goddess in a hood of 
devilry and caricature ? But whence this necessity, 
this obligation ? " The reason is — because you live 
too near the sewers. 



Of the Salt of Speech.— No one has ever 
explained why the Greek writers, having at com- 
mand such an unparalleled wealth and power of 
language, made so sparing a use of their resources 
that every post-classical Greek book appears by 
comparison crude, over-coloured, and extravagant. 
It is said that towards the North Polar ice and 
in the hottest countries salt is becoming less and 
less used, whereas on the other hand the dwellers 
on the plains and by the coast in the more temper- 
ate zones use salt in great abundance. Is it possible 
that the Greeks from a twofold reason — because 
their intellect was colder and clearer but their fun- 
damental passionate nature far more tropical than 
ours — did not need salt and spice to the same extent 
that we do ? 

The Freest Writer. — In a book for free spirits 
one cannot avoid mention of Laurence Sterne, the 
man whom Goethe honoured as the freest spirit of 
his century. May he be satisfied with the honour of 
being called the freest writer of all times, in com- 
parison with whom all others appear stiff, square- 
toed, intolerant, and downright boorish ! In his case 
we should not speak of the clear and rounded but 
of "the endless melody" — if by this phrase we arrive 
at a name for an artistic style in which the definite 
form is continually broken, thrust aside and trans- 
ferred to the realm of the indefinite, so that it 
signifies one and the other at the same time. Sterne 
is the great master of double entendre, this phrase 


being naturally used in a far wider sense than is 
commonly done when one applies it to sexual 
relations. We may give up for lost the reader 
who always wants to know exactly what Sterne 
thinks about a matter, and whether he be making 
a serious or a smiling face (for he can do both 
with one wrinkling of his features ; he can be and 
even wishes to be right and wrong at the same 
moment, to interweave profundity and farce). His 
digressions are at once continuations and further 
developments of the story, his maxims contain a 
satire on all that is sententious, his dislike of 
seriousness is bound up with a disposition to take no 
matter merely externally and on the surface. So in 
the proper reader he arouses a feeling of uncertainty 
whether he be walking, lying, or standing, a feeling 
most closely akin to that of floating in the air. He, 
the most versatile of writers, communicates some- 
thing of this versatility to his reader. Yes, Sterne 
unexpectedly changes the parts, and is often as much 
reader as author, his book being like a play within a 
play, a theatre audience before another theatre audi- 
ence. We must surrender at discretion to the mood 
of Sterne, although we can always expect it to be 
gracious. It is strangely instructive to see how so 
great a writer as Diderot has affected this double 
entendre of Sterne's — to be equally ambiguous 
throughout is just the Sternian super-humour. Did 
Diderot imitate, admire, ridicule, or parody Sterne 
in his Jacques le Fataliste} One cannot be exactly 
certain, and this uncertainty was perhaps intended 
by the author. This very doubt makes the French 
unjust to the work of one of their first masters, one 


who need not be ashamed of comparison with any 
of the ancients or moderns. For humour (and 
especially for this humorous attitude towards 
humour itself) the French are too serious. Is it 
necessary to add that of all great authors Sterne is 
the worst model, in fact the inimitable author, and 
that even Diderot had to pay for his daring ? What 
the worthy Frenchmen and before them some 
Greeks and Romans aimed at and attained in prose 
is the very opposite of what Sterne aims at and 
attains. He raises himself as a masterly exception 
above all that artists in writing demand of them- 
selves — propriety, reserve, character, steadfastness 
of purpose, comprehensiveness, perspicuity, good 
deportment in gait and feature. Unfortunately 
Sterne the man seems to have been only too closely 
related to Sterne the writer. His squirrel-soul 
sprang with insatiable unrest from branch to 
branch ; he knew what lies between sublimity and 
rascality ; he had sat on every seat, always with un- 
abashed watery eyes and mobile play of feature. 
He was — if language does not revolt from such a 
combination — of a hard-hearted kindness, and in 
the midst of the joys of a grotesque and even cor- 
rupt imagination he showed the bashful grace of 
innocence. Such a carnal and spiritual hermaphro- 
ditism, such untrammelled wit penetrating into 
every vein and muscle, was perhaps never possessed 
by any other man. 


A Choice Reality. — Just as the good prose 
writer only takes words that belong to the language 
of daily intercourse, though not by a long way all 


its words — whence arises a choice style — so the 
good poet of the future will only represent the real 
and turn his eyes away from all fantastic, supersti- 
tious, half-voiced, forgotten stories, to which earlier 
poets devoted their powers. Only reality, though 
by a long way not every reality — but a choice 

Degenerate Species of Art. — Side by side 
with the genuine species of art, those of great repose 
and great movement, there are degenerate species 
— weary, blase" art and excited art. Both would 
have their weakness taken for strength and wish to 
be confounded with the genuine species. 


A Hero Impossible from Lack of Colour. — 
The typical poets and artists of our age like to 
compose their pictures upon a background of shim- 
mering red, green, grey, and gold, on the back- 
ground of nervous sensuality — a condition well 
understood by the children of this century. The 
drawback comes when we do not look at these pic- 
tures with the eyes of our century. Then we see that 
the great figures painted by these artists have some- 
thing flickering, tremulous, and dizzy about them, 
and accordingly we do not ascribe to them heroic 
deeds, but at best mock-heroic, swaggering rawdeeds. 

Overladen Style. — The overladen style is a 
consequence of the impoverishment of the organis- 


ing force together with a lavish stock of expedients 
and intentions. At the beginnings of art the very- 
reverse conditions sometimes appear. 


Pulchrum est paucorum hominum. — History 
and experience tell us that the significant grotesque- 
ness that mysteriously excites the imagination and 
carries one beyond everyday reality, is older and 
grows more luxuriantly than the beautiful and re- 
verence for the beautiful in art : and that it begins 
to flourish exceedingly when the sense for beauty 
is on the wane. For the vast majority of mankind 
this grotesque seems to be a higher need than the 
beautiful, presumably because it contains a coarser 


Origins of Taste in Works of Art.— If we 
consider the primary germs of the artistic sense, and 
ask ourselves what are the various kinds of joy 
produced by the firstlings of art — as, for example, 
among savage tribes — we find first of all the joy 
of understanding what another means. Art in this 
case is a sort of conundrum, which causes its solver 
pleasure in his own quick and keen perceptions. — 
Then the roughest works of art remind us of the 
pleasant things we have actually experienced, and 
so give joy — as, for example, when the artist alludes 
to a chase, a victory, a wedding. — Again, the repre- 
sentation may cause us to feel excited, touched, in- 
flamed, as for instance in the glorification of revenge 


and danger. Here the enjoyment lies in the ex- 
citement itself, in the victory over tedium. — The 
memory, too, of unpleasant things, so far as they 
have been overcome or make us appear interesting 
to the listener as subjects for art (as when the 
singer describes the mishaps of a daring seaman), 
can inspire great joy, the credit for which is given 
to art. — A more subtle variety is the joy that 
arises at the sight of all that is regular and sym- 
metrical in lines, points, and rhythms. For by a 
certain analogy is awakened the feeling for all that 
is orderly and regular in life, which one has to thank 
alone for all well-being. So in the cult of symmetry 
we unconsciously do homage to rule and proportion 
as the source of our previous happiness, and the joy 
in this case is a kind of hymn of thanksgiving. 
Only when a certain satiety of the last-mentioned 
joy arises does a more subtle feeling step in, that 
enjoyment might even lie in a violation of the 
symmetrical and regular. This feeling, for example, 
impels us to seek reason in apparent unreason, and 
the sort of aesthetic riddle-guessing that results is in 
a way the higher species of the first-named artistic 
joy. — He who pursues this speculation still further 
will know what kind of hypotheses for the ex- 
planation of aesthetic phenomena are hereby funda- 
mentally rejected. 


Not too Near. — It is a disadvantage for good 
thoughts when they follow too closely on one 
another, for they hide the view from each other. 
vol. 11. E 



That is why great artists and writers have made an 
abundant use of the mediocre. 


Roughness and Weakness. — Artists of all 
periods have made the discovery that in roughness 
lies a certain strength, and that not every one can be 
rough who wants to be : also that many varieties of 
weakness have a powerful effect on the emotions. 
From this source are derived many artistic substi- 
tutes, which not even the greatest and most con- 
scientious artists can abstain from using. 


Good Memory. — Many a man fails to become 
a thinker for the sole reason that his memory is too 


Arousing instead of Appeasing Hunger. — 
Great artists fancy that they have taken full pos- 
session of a soul. In reality, and often to their 
painful disappointment, that soul has only been 
made more capacious and insatiable, so that a dozen 
greater artists could plunge into its depths without 
filling it up. 


Artists' Anxiety. — The anxiety lest people 
may not believe that their figures are alive can mis- 
lead many artists of declining taste to portray these 
figures so that they appear as if mad. From the 


same anxiety, on the other hand, Greek artists of 
the earliest ages gave even dead and sorely wounded 
men that smile which they knew as the most vivid 
sign of life — careless of the actual forms bestowed 
by nature on life at its last gasp. 


The Circle must be Completed. — He who 
follows a philosophy or a genre of art to the end of 
its career and beyond, understands from inner ex- 
perience why the masters and disciples who come 
after have so often turned, with a depreciatory ges- 
ture, into a new groove. The circle must be de- 
scribed — but the individual, even the greatest, sits 
firm on his point of the circumference, with an in- 
exorable look of obstinacy, as if the circle ought 
never to be completed. 


The Older Art and the Soul of the 
Present. — Since every art becomes more and more 
adapted to the expression of spiritual states, of the 
more lively, delicate, energetic, and passionate states, 
the later masters, spoilt by these means of expres- 
sion, do not feel at their ease in the presence of the 
old-time works of art. They feel as if the ancients 
had merely been lacking in the means of making 
their souls speak clearly, also perhaps in some neces- 
sary technical preliminaries. They think that they 
must render some assistance in this quarter, for 

tthey believe in the similarity or even unity of all 
souls. In truth, however, measure, symmetry, a 


contempt for graciousness and charm, an uncon- 
scious severity and morning chilliness, an evasion 
of passion, as if passion meant the death of art — 
such are the constituents of sentiment and morality 
in all old masters, who selected and arranged their 
means of expression not at random but in a neces- 
sary connection with their morality. Knowing this, 
are we to deny those that come after the right to 
animate the older works with their soul ? No, for 
these works can only survive through our giving 
them our soul, and our blood alone enables them 
to speak to us. The real "historic" discourse would 
talk ghostly speech to ghosts. We honour the great 
artists less by that barren timidity that allows every 
word, every note to remain intact than by energetic 
endeavours to aid them continually to a new life. — 
True, if Beethoven were suddenly to come to life 
and hear one of his works performed with that 
modern animation and nervous refinement that bring 
glory to our masters of execution, he would probably 
be silent for a long while, uncertain whether he should 
raise his hand to curse or to bless, but perhaps say 
at last : " Well, well ! That is neither I nor not-I, but 
a third thing — it seems to me, too, something right, 
if not just the tight thing. But you must know your- 
selves what to do, as in any case it is you who have 
to listen. As our Schiller says, ' the living man is 
right.' So have it your own way, and let me go 
down again." 


Against the Disparagers of Brevity. — A 
brief dictum may be the fruit and harvest of long 


reflection. The reader, however, who is a novice 
in this field and has never considered the case in 
point, sees something embryonic in all brief dicta, 
not without a reproachful hint to the author, request- 
ing him not to serve up such raw and ill-prepared 


Against the Short-Sighted. — Do you think 
it is piece-work because it is (and must be) offered 
you in pieces ? 


Readers of Aphorisms. — The worst readers of 
aphorisms are the friends of the author, if they make 
a point of referring the general to the particular 
instance to which the aphorism owes its origin. 
This namby-pamby attitude brings all the author's 
trouble to naught, and instead of a philosophic lesson 
and a philosophic frame of mind, they deservedly 
gain nothing but the satisfaction of a vulgar curi- 


Readers' Insults. — The reader offers a two- 
fold insult to the author by praising his second book 
at the expense of his first (or vice versa) and by ex- 
pecting the author to be grateful to him on that 

The Exciting Element in the History of 
Art. — We fall into a state of terrible tension when 
we follow the history of an art — as, for example, that 


of Greek oratory — and, passing from master to master, 
observe their increasing precautions to obey the old 
and the new laws and all these self-imposed limita- 
tions. We see that the bow must snap, and that the 
so-called " loose " composition, with the wonderful 
means of expression smothered and concealed (in 
this particular case the florid style of Asianism), was 
once necessary and almost beneficial. 


To the Great in Art. — That enthusiasm for 
some object which you, O great man, introduce into 
this world causes the intelligence of the many to be 
stunted. The knowledge of this fact spells humilia- 
tion. But the enthusiast wears his hump with pride 
and pleasure, and you have the consolation of feeling 
that you have increased the world's happiness. 


Conscienceless ^Esthetes.— The real fanatics 
of an artistic school are perhaps those utterly in- 
artistic natures that are not even grounded in the 
elements of artistic study and creation, but are im- 
pressed with the strongest of all the elementary 
influences of an art. For them there is no aesthetic 
conscience — hence nothing to hold them back from 

How the Soul should be Moved by the 
New Music. — The artistic purpose followed by the 
new music, in what is now forcibly but none too 


lucidly termed " endless melody," can be understood 
by going into the sea, gradually losing one's firm 
tread on the bottom, and finally surrendering uncon- 
ditionally to the fluid element. One has to swim. 
In the previous, older music one was forced, with 
delicate or stately or impassioned movement, to 
dance. The measure necessary for dancing, the ob- 
servance of a distinct balance of time and force 
in the soul of the hearer, imposed a continual self- 
control. Through the counteraction of the cooler 
draught of air which came from this caution and the 
warmer breath of musical enthusiasm, that music 
exercised its spell. — Richard Wagner aimed at a 
different excitation of the soul, allied, as above said, 
to swimming and floating. This is perhaps the most 
essential of his innovations. His famous method, 
originating from this aim and adapted to it — the 
" endless melody " — strives to break and sometimes 
even to despise all mathematical equilibrium of time 
and force. He is only too rich in the invention of 
such effects, which sound to the old school like 
rhythmic paradoxes and blasphemies. He dreads 
petrifaction, crystallisation, the development of 
music into the architectural. He accordingly sets 
up a three-time rhythm in opposition to the double- 
time, not infrequently introduces five-time and seven- 
time, immediately repeats a phrase, but with a pro- 
lation, so that its time is again doubled and trebled. 
From an easy-going imitation of such art may arise 
a great danger to music, for by the side of the super- 
abundance of rhythmic emotion demoralisation and 
decadence lurk in ambush. The danger will become 
very great if such music comes to associate itself 


more and more closely with a quite naturalistic 
art of acting and pantomime, trained and dominated 
by no higher plastic models ; an art that knows no 
measure in itself and can impart no measure to the 
kindred element, the all-too-womanish nature of 

Poet and Reality. — The Muse of the poet who 
is not in love with reality will not be reality, and 
will bear him children with hollow eyes and all too 
tender bones. 


Means and End. — In art the end does not justify 
the means, but holy means can justify the end. 

The Worst Readers. — The worst readers are 
those who act like plundering soldiers. They take 
out some things that they might use, cover the rest 
with filth and confusion, and blaspheme about the 


Signs of a Good Writer. — Good writers have 
two things in common: they prefer being understood 
to being admired, and they do not write for the 
critical and over-shrewd reader. 

The Mixed Species. — The mixed species in art 
bear witness to their authors' distrust of their own 


strength. They seek auxiliary powers, advocates, 
hiding-places — such is the case with the poet who 
calls in philosophy, the musician who calls in the 
drama, and the thinker who calls in rhetoric to his aid. 


Shutting One's Mouth.— When his book 
opens its mouth, the author must shut his. 


Badges of Rank.— All poets and men of letters 
who are in love with the superlative want to do more 
than they can. 


COLD Books. — The deep thinker reckons on 
readers who feel with him the happiness that lies 
in deep thinking. Hence a book that looks cold 
and sober, if seen in the right light, may seem bathed 
in the sunshine of spiritual cheerfulness and become 
a genuine soul-comforter. 


A Knack of the Slow- Witted.— The slow- 
witted thinker generally allies himself with loqua- 
city and ceremoniousness. By the former he thinks 
he is gaining mobility and fluency, by the latter he 
gives his peculiarity the appearance of being a result 
of free will and artistic purpose, with a view to 
dignity, which needs slow movement. 



Le Style Baroque* — He who as thinker and 
writer is not born or trained to dialectic and the conse- 
cutive arrangement of ideas, will unconsciously turn 
to the rhetoric and dramatic forms. For, after all, his 
object is to make himself understood and to carry the 
day by force, and he is indifferent whether, as shep- 
herd, he honestly guides to himself the hearts of his 
fellow-men, or, as robber, he captures them by sur- 
prise. This is true of the plastic arts as of music : 
where the feeling of insufficient dialectic or a de- 
ficiency in expression or narration, together with an 
urgent, over-powerful impulse to form, gives birth 
to that species of style known as " baroque." Only 
the ill-educated and the arrogant will at once find a 
depreciatory force in this word. The baroque style 
always arises at the time of decay of a great art, 
when the demands of art in classical expression 
have become too great. It is a natural phenomenon 
which will be observed with melancholy — for it is a 
forerunner of the night — but at the same time with 
admiration for its peculiar compensatory arts of ex- 
pression and narration. To this style belongs already 
a choice of material and subjects of the highest 
dramatic tension, at which the heart trembles even 
when there is no art, because heaven and hell are 
all too near the emotions : then, the oratory of strong 
passion and gestures, of ugly sublimity, of great 

* In German Barockstil^ i.e. the degenerate post-Renais- 
sance style in art and literature, which spread from Italy 
in the seventeenth century. — Tr. 


masses, in fact of absolute quantity per se (as is 
shown in Michael Angelo, the father or grandfather 
of the Italian baroque stylists) : the lights of dusk, 
illumination and conflagration playing upon those 
strongly moulded forms: ever-new ventures in means 
and aims, strongly underscored by artists for artists, 
while the layman must fancy he sees an unconscious 
overflowing of all the horns of plenty of an original 
nature-art : all these characteristics that constitute 
the greatness of that style are neither possible nor 
permitted in the earlier ante-classical and classical 
periods of a branch of art. Such luxuries hang long 
on the tree like forbidden fruit. Just now, when 
music is passing into this last phase, we may learn to 
know the phenomenon of the baroque sty le in peculiar 
splendour, and, by comparison, find much that is 
instructive for earlier ages. For from Greek times 
onward there has often been a baroque style, in 
poetry, oratory, prose writing, sculpture, and, as is 
well known, in architecture. This style, though 
wanting in the highest nobility, — the nobility of an 
innocent, unconscious, triumphant perfection, — has 
nevertheless given pleasure to many of the best and 
most serious minds of their time. Hence, as afore- 
said, it is presumptuous to depreciate it without re- 
serve, however happy we may feel because our taste 
for it has not made us insensible to the purer and 
greater style. 


The Value of Honest Books. — Honest books 
make the reader honest, at least by exciting his 
hatred and aversion, which otherwise cunning clever- 


ness knows so well how to conceal. Against a book, 
however, we let ourselves go, however restrained we 
may be in our relations with men. 

How Art makes Partisans.— -Individual fine 
passages, an exciting general tenor, a moving and 
absorbing finale — so much of a work of art is ac- 
cessible even to most laymen. In an art period 
when it is desired to win over the great majority of 
the laymen to the side of the artists and to make a 
party perhaps for the very preservation of art, the 
creative artist will do well to offer nothing more than 
the above. Then he will not be a squanderer of his 
strength, in spheres where no one is grateful to him. 
For to perform the remaining functions, the imi- 
tation of Nature in her organic development and 
growth, would in that case be like sowing seeds in 


Becoming Great to the Detriment of 
History. — Every later master who leads the taste 
of art-lovers into his channel unconsciously gives rise 
to a selection and revaluation of the older masters 
and their works. Whatever in them is conformable 
and akin to him, and anticipates and foreshadows 
him, appears henceforth as the only important ele- 
ment in them and their works — a fruit in which a 
great error usually lies hidden like a worm. 

How an Epoch becomes Lured to Art.— If 
we teach people by all the enchantments of artists 


and thinkers to feel reverence for their defects, their 
intellectual poverty, their absurd infatuations and 
passions (as it is quite possible to do) ; if we show 
them only the lofty side of crime and folly, only 
the touching and appealing element in weakness and 
flabbiness and blind devotion (that too has often 
enough been done) : — we have employed the means 
for inspiring even an unphilosophical and inartistic 
age with an ecstatic love of philosophy and art 
(especially of thinkers and artists as personalities) 
and, in the worst case, perhaps with the only means 
of defending the existence of such tender and fragile 


Criticism and Joy. — Criticism, one-sided and 
unjust as well as intelligent criticism, gives so much 
pleasure to him who exercises it that the world is 
indebted to every work and every action that in- 
spires much criticism and many critics. For criti- 
cism draws after it a glittering train of joyousness, 
wit, self-admiration, pride, instruction, designs of im- 
provement. — The God of joy created the bad and 
the mediocre for the same reason that he created the 


Beyond his Limits.— When an artist wants to 
be more than an artist — for example, the moral 
awakener of his people — he at last falls in love, as a 
punishment, with a monster of moral substance. 
The Muse laughs, for, though a kind-hearted God- 
dess, she can also be malignant from jealousy. 
Milton and Klopstock are cases in point. 



A Glass Eye. — The tendency of a talent towards 
moral subjects, characters, motives, towards the 
" beautiful soul " of the work of art, is often only a 
glass eye put on by the artist who lacks a beautiful 
soul. It may result, though rarely, that his eye 
finally becomes living Nature, if indeed it be Nature 
with a somewhat troubled look. But the ordinary 
result is that the whole world thinks it sees Nature 
where there is only cold glass. 


Writing and Desire for Victory. — Writing 
should always indicate a victory, indeed a conquest 
of oneself which must be communicated to others 
for their behoof. There are, however, dyspeptic 
authors who only write when they cannot digest 
something, or when something has remained stuck 
in their teeth. Through their anger they try un- 
consciously to disgust the reader too, and to exercise 
violence upon him — that is, they desire victory, but 
victory over others. 

A Good Book Needs Time. — Every good book 
tastes bitter when it first comes out, for it has the 
defect of newness. Moreover, it suffers damage 
from its living author, if he is well known and much 
talked about. For all the world is accustomed to 
confuse the author with his work. Whatever of 
profundity, sweetness, and brilliance the work may 
contain must be developed as the years go by, 


under the care of growing, then old, and lastly 
traditional reverence. Many hours must pass, many 
a spider must have woven its web about the book. 
A book is made better by good readers and clearer 
by good opponents. 


Extravagance as an Artistic Means. — 
Artists well understand the idea of using extrava- 
gance as an artistic means in order to convey an 
impression of wealth. This is one of those innocent 
wiles of soul-seduction that the artist must know, 
for in his world, which has only appearance in view, 
the means to appearance need not necessarily be 


The Hidden Barrel -Organ. —Genius, by 
virtue of its more ample drapery, knows better than 
talent how to hide its barrel-organ. Yet after all 
it too can only play its seven old pieces over and 
over again. 


The Name on the Title-Page. — It is now a 
matter of custom and almost of duty for the 
author's name to appear on the book, and this is a 
main cause of the fact that books have so little 
influence. If they are good, they are worth more 
than the personalities of their authors, of which 
they are the quintessences. But as soon as the 
author makes himself known on the title-page, the 
quintessence, from the reader's point of view, be- 


comes diluted with the personal, the most personal 
element, and the aim of the book is frustrated. It 
is the ambition of the intellect no longer to appear 

The Most Cutting Criticism.— We make the 
most cutting criticism of a man or a book when we 
indicate his or its ideal. 


Little or no Love. — Every good book is written 
for a particular reader and men of his stamp, and 
for that very reason is looked upon unfavourably 
by all other readers, by the vast majority. Its re- 
putation accordingly rests on a narrow basis and 
must be built up by degrees. — The mediocre and 
bad book is mediocre and bad because it seeks to 
please, and does please, a great number. 


Music and Disease. — The danger of the new 
music lies in the fact that it puts the cup of rapture 
and exaltation to the lips so invitingly, and with 
such a show of moral ecstasy, that even the noble 
and temperate man always drinks a drop too much. 
This minimum of intemperance, constantlyrepeated, 
can in the end bring about a deeper convulsion and 
destruction of mental health than any coarse excess 
could do. Hence nothing remains but some day 
to fly from the grotto of the nymph, and through 
perils and billowy seas to forge one's way to the 


smoke of Ithaca and the embraces of a simpler and 
more human spouse. 

1 60. 

Advantage for Opponents. — A book full of 
intellect communicates something thereof even to 
its opponents. 


Youth and Criticism. — To criticise a book 
means, for the young, not to let oneself be touched 
by a single productive thought therefrom, and to 
protect one's skin with hands and feet. The 
youngster lives in opposition to all novelty that 
he cannot love in the lump, in a position of self- 
defence, and in this connection he commits, as often 
as he can, a superfluous sin. 


Effect of Quantity. — The greatest paradox 
in the history of poetic art lies in this : that in all 
that constitutes the greatness of the old poets a 
man may be a barbarian, faulty and deformed from 
top to toe, and still remain the greatest of poets. 
This is the case with Shakespeare, who, as com- 
pared with Sophocles, is like a mine of immeasur- 
able wealth in gold, lead, and rubble, whereas 
Sophocles is not merely gold, but gold in its noblest 
form, one that almost makes us forget the money- 
value of the metal. But quantity in its highest in- 
tensity has the same effect as quality. That is a 
good thing for Shakespeare. 


I6 3 . 

All Beginning is Dangerous.— The Poet can 
choose whether to raise emotion from one grade to 
another, and so finally to exalt it to a great height 
— or to try a surprise attack, and from the start 
to pull the bell-rope with might and main. Both 
processes have their danger — in the first case his 
hearer may run away from him through boredom, 
in the second through terror. 


In Favour of Critics. — Insects sting, not from 
malice, but because they too want to live. It is the 
same with our critics — they desire our blood, not our 


Success of Aphorisms. — The inexperienced, 
when an aphorism at once illuminates their minds 
with its naked truth, always think that it is old and 
well known. They look askance at the author, as if 
he had wanted to steal the common property of all, 
whereas they enjoy highly spiced half-truths, and 
give the author to understand as much. He knows 
how to appreciate the hint, and easily guesses there- 
by where he has succeeded and failed. 


The Desire for Victory. — An artist who 
exceeds the limit of his strength in all that he 
undertakes will end by carrying the multitude 
along with him through the spectacle of violent 


wrestling that he affords. Success is not always 
the accompaniment only of victory, but also of the 
desire for victory. 


Sibi S crib ere. — The sensible author writes for 
no other posterity than his own — that is, for his 
age — so as to be able even then to take pleasure 
in himself. 


Praise of the Aphorism. — A good aphorism 
is too hard for the tooth of time, and is not worn 
away by all the centuries, although it serves as food 
for every epoch. Hence it is the greatest paradox 
in literature, the imperishable in the midst of 
change, the nourishment which always remains 
highly valued, as salt does, and never becomes 
stupid like salt. 


The Art-Need of the Second Order. — The 
people may have something of what can be called 
art-need, but it is small, and can be cheaply satis- 
fied. On the whole, the remnant of art (it must 
be honestly confessed) suffices for this need. Let 
us consider, for example, the kind of melodies and 
songs in which the most vigorous, unspoiled, and 
true-hearted classes of the population find genuine 
delight; let us live among shepherds, cowherds, 
peasants, huntsmen, soldiers, and sailors, and give 
ourselves the answer. And in the country town, just 
in the houses that are the homes of inherited civic 
virtue, is it not the worst music at present produced 


that is loved and, one might say,cherished ? He who 
speaks of deeper needs and unsatisfied yearnings 
for art among the people, as it is, is a crank or an im- 
postor. Be honest ! Only in exceptional men is there 
now an art-need in the highest sense — because art 
is once more on the down-grade, and human powers 
and hopes are for the time being directed to other 
matters. — Apart from this, outside the populace, 
there exists indeed, in the higher and highest strata 
of society, a broader and more comprehensive art- 
need, but of the second order. Here there is a sort 
of artistic commune, which possibly means to be 
sincere. But let us look at the elements ! They 
are in general the more refined malcontents, who 
attain no genuine pleasure in themselves ; the cul- 
tured, who have not become free enough to dispense 
with the consolations of religion, and yet do not 
find its incense sufficiently fragrant ; the half-aristo- 
cratic, who are too weak to combat by a heroic 
conversion or renunciation the one fundamental 
error of their lives or the pernicious bent of their 
characters ; the highly gifted, who think themselves 
too dignified to be of service by modest activity, 
and are too lazy for real, self-sacrificing work ; girls 
who cannot create for themselves a satisfactory 
sphere of duties ; women who have tied themselves 
by a light-hearted or nefarious marriage, and know 
that they are not tied securely enough; scholars, 
physicians, merchants, officials who specialised too 
early and never gave their lives a free enough scope 
— who do their work efficiently, it is true, but with a 
worm gnawing at their hearts ; finally, all imperfect 
artists — these are nowadays the true needers of art ! 


What do they really desire from art ? Art is to drive 
away hours and moments of discomfort, boredom, 
half-bad conscience, and, if possible, transform the 
faults of their lives and characters into faults of 
world-destiny. Very different were the Greeks, who 
realised in their art the outflow and overflow of their 
own sense of well-being and health, and loved to 
see their perfection once more from a standpoint 
outside themselves. They were led to art by delight 
in themselves ; our contemporaries — by disgust of 


The Germans in the Theatre.— The real 
theatrical talent of the Germans was Kotzebue. He 
and his Germans, those of higher as well as those 
of middle-class society, were necessarily associated, 
and his contemporaries should have said of him in all 
seriousness, " in him we live and move and have our 
being." Here was nothing — no constraint, pretence, 
or half-enjoyment : what he could and would do was 
understood. Yes, until now the honest theatrical 
success on the German stage has been in the hands 
of the shamefaced or unashamed heirs of Kotzebue's 
methods and influence — that is, as far as comedy 
still flourishes at all. The result is that much of the 
Germanism of that age, sometimes far off from the 
great towns, still survives. Good-natured ; incon- 
tinent in small pleasures ; always ready for tears ; 
with the desire, in the theatre at any rate, to be 
able to get rid of their innate sobriety and strict 
attention to duty and exercise; a smiling, nay, a 
laughing indulgence ; confusing goodness and sym- 


pathy and welding them into one, as is the essential 
characteristic of German sentimentality; exceed- 
ingly happy at a noble, magnanimous action ; for 
the rest, submissive towards superiors, envious of 
each other, and yet in their heart of hearts thor- 
oughly self-satisfied — such were they and such was 
he. — The second dramatic talent was Schiller. He 
discovered a class of hearers which had hitherto 
never been taken into consideration : among the 
callow German youth of both sexes. His poetry 
responded to their higher, nobler, more violent if 
more confused emotions, their delight in the jingle 
of moral words (a delight that begins to disappear 
when we reach the thirties). Thus he won for him- 
self, by virtue of the passionateness and partisanship 
of the young, a success which gradually reacted with 
advantage upon those of riper years. Generally 
speaking, Schiller rejuvenated the Germans. Goethe 
stood and still stands above the Germans in every 
respect. To them he will never belong. How could 
a nation in well-being and well-wishing come up to 
the intellectuality of Goethe ? Beethoven composed 
and Schopenhauer philosophised above the heads 
of the Germans, and it was above their heads, in 
the same way, that Goethe wrote his Tasso, his 
Iphigenie. He was followed by a small company 
of highly cultured persons, who were educated by 
antiquity, life, and travel, and had grown out of 
German ways of thought. He himself did not 
wish it to be otherwise. — When the Romantics set 
up their well -conceived Goethe cult; when their 
amazing skill in appreciation was passed on to the 
disciples of Hegel, the real educators of the Germans 


of this century ; when the awakening national am- 
bition turned out advantageous to the fame of the 
German poets ; when the real standard of the nation, 
as to whether it could honestly find enjoyment in 
anything, became inexorably subordinated to the 
judgment of individuals and to that national am- 
bition, — that is, when people began to enjoy by 
compulsion, — then arose that false, spurious German 
culture which was ashamed of Kotzebue ; which 
brought Sophocles, Calderon, and even the Second 
Part of Goethe's Faust on the stage ; and which, 
on account of its foul tongue and congested stomach, 
no longer knows now what it likes and what it finds 
tedious. — Happy are those who have taste, even if 
it be a bad taste ! Only by this characteristic can 
one be wise as well as happy. Hence the Greeks, 
who were very refined in such matters, designated 
the sage by a word that means "man of taste," and 
called wisdom, artistic as well as scientific, " taste " 


Music as a Late-Comer in every Culture. 
— Among all the arts that are accustomed to grow 
on a definite culture-soil and under definite social 
and political conditions, music is the last plant to 
come up, arising in the autumn and fading-season 
of the culture to which it belongs. At the same 
time, the first signs and harbingers of a new spring 
are usually already noticeable, and sometimes music, 
like the language of a forgotten age, rings out into 
a new, astonished world, and comes too late. In the 
art of the Dutch and Flemish musicians the soul 


of the Christian middle ages at last found its fullest 
tone: their sound-architecture is the posthumous 
but legitimate and equal sister of Gothic. Not until 
Handel's music was heard the note of the best in 
the soul of Luther and his kin, the great Judaeo- 
heroical impulse that created the whole Reforma- 
tion movement. Mozart first expressed in golden 
melody the age of Louis XIV. and the art of Racine 
and Claude Lorrain. The eighteenth century — that 
century of rhapsody, of broken ideals and transitory 
happiness — only sang itself out in the music of Bee- 
thoven and Rossini. A lover of sentimental similes 
might say that all really important music was a 
swan-song. — Music is, in fact, not a universal language 
for all time, as is so often said in its praise, but re- 
sponds exactly to a particular period and warmth 
of emotion which involves a quite definite, individual 
culture, determined by time and place, as its inner 
law. The music of Palestrina would be quite un- 
intelligible to a Greek ; and again, what would the 
music of Rossini convey to Palestrina ? — It may be 
that our most modern German music, with all its pre- 
eminence and desire of pre-eminence, will soon be 
no longer understood. For this music sprang from 
a culture that is undergoing a rapid decay, from the 
soil of that epoch of reaction and restoration in 
which a certain Catholicism of feeling, as well as a 
delight in all indigenous, national, primitive man- 
ners, burst into bloom and scattered a blended per- 
fume over Europe. These two emotional tendencies, 
adopted in their greatest strength and carried to 
their farthest limits, found final expression in the 
music of Wagner. Wagner's predilection for the old 


native sagas, his free idealisation of their unfamiliar 
gods and heroes, — who are really sovereign beasts 
of prey with occasional fits of thoughtfulness, mag- 
nanimity, and boredom, — his re-animation of those 
figures, to which he gave in addition the mediaeval 
Christian thirst for ecstatic sensuality and spiritual- 
isation — all this Wagnerian give-and-take with re- 
gard to materials, souls, figures, and words — would 
clearly express the spirit of his music, if it could not, 
like all music, speak quite unambiguously of itself. 
This spirit wages the last campaign of reaction 
against the spirit of illumination which passed into 
this century from the last, and also against the super- 
national ideas of French revolutionary romanticism 
and of English and American insipidity in the 
reconstruction of state and society. — But is it not 
evident that the spheres of thought and emotion 
apparently suppressed by Wagner and his school 
have long since acquired fresh strength, and that 
his late musical protest against them generally rings 
into ears that prefer to hear different and opposite 
notes ; so that one day that high and wonderful 
art will suddenly become unintelligible and will be 
covered by the spider's web of oblivion ? — In con- 
sidering this state of affairs we must not let our- 
selves be led astray by those transitory fluctuations 
which arise like a reaction within a reaction, as a 
temporary sinking of the mountainous wave in the 
midst of the general upheaval. Thus, this decade of 
national war, ultramontane martyrdom, and social- 
istic unrest may, in its remoter after-effect, even aid 
the Wagnerian art to acquire a sudden halo, with- 
out guaranteeing that it " has a future " or that it 



has the future. It is in the very nature of music 
that the fruits of its great culture-vintage should 
lose their taste and wither earlier than the fruits of 
the plastic arts or those that grow on the tree of 
knowledge. Among all the products of the human 
artistic sense ideas are the most solid and lasting. 


The Poet no longer a Teacher.— Strange 
as it may sound to our time, there were once poets 
and artists whose soul was above the passions with 
their delights and convulsions, and who therefore 
took their pleasure in purer materials, worthier men, 
more delicate complications and denouements. If 
the artists of our day for the most part unfetter the 
will, and so are under certain circumstances for that 
very reason emancipators of life, those were tamers of 
the will, enchanters of animals, creators of men. In 
fact, they moulded, re-moulded, and new-moulded 
life, whereas the fame of poets of our day lies in 
unharnessing, unchaining, and shattering. — The an- 
cient Greeks demanded of the poet that he should 
be the teacher of grown men. How ashamed the 
poet would be now if this demand were made of 
him ! He is not even a good student of himself, 
and so never himself becomes a good poem or a fine 
picture. Under the most favourable circumstances 
he remains the shy, attractive ruin of a temple, but 
at the same time a cavern of cravings, overgrown 
like a ruin with flowers, nettles, and poisonous weeds, 
inhabited and haunted by snakes, worms, spiders, 
and birds ; an object for sad reflection as to why the 
noblest and most precious must grow up at once 


like a ruin, without the past and future of perfec- 

Looking Forward and Backward. — An art 
like that which streams out of Homer, Sophocles, 
Theocritus, Calderon, Racine, Goethe, as the super- 
abundance of a wise and harmonious conduct of life 
— that is the true art, at which we grasp when we 
have ourselves become wiser and more harmonious. 
It is not that barbaric, if ever so delightful, outpour- 
ing of hot and highly coloured things from an un- 
disciplined, chaotic soul, which is what we under- 
stood by " art " in our youth. It is obvious from 
the nature of the case that for certain periods of 
life an art of overstrain, excitement, antipathy to 
the orderly, monotonous, simple, logical, is an in- 
evitable need, to which artists must respond, lest 
the soul of such periods should unburden itself in 
other ways, through all kinds of disorder and im- 
propriety. Hence youths as they generally are, full, 
fermenting, tortured above all things by boredom, 
and women who lack work that fully occupies their 
soul, require that art of delightful disorder. All 
the more violently on that account are they in- 
flamed with a desire for satisfaction without change, 
happiness without stupor and intoxication. 


Against the Art of Works of Art.— Art is 
above all and first of all meant to embellish life, to 
make us ourselves endurable and if possible agree- 
able in the eyes of others. With this task in view, 


art moderates us and holds us in restraint, creates 
forms of intercourse, binds over the uneducated to 
laws of decency, cleanliness, politeness, well-timed 
speech and silence. Hence art must conceal or 
transfigure everything that is ugly — the painful, 
terrible, and disgusting elements which in spite of 
every effort will always break out afresh in accord- 
ance with the very origin of human nature. Art 
has to perform this duty especially in regard to the 
passions and spiritual agonies and anxieties, and to 
cause the significant factor to shine through unavoid- 
able or unconquerable ugliness. To this great, super- 
great task the so-called art proper, that of works of 
art, is a mere accessary. A man who feels within 
himself a surplus of such powers of embellishment, 
concealment, and transfiguration will finally seek 
to unburden himself of this surplus in works of art. 
The same holds good, under special circumstances, 
of a whole nation. — But as a rule we nowadays begin 
art at the end, hang on to its tail, and think that 
works of art constitute art proper, and that life 
should be improved and transformed by this means 
— fools that we are! If we begin a dinner with 
dessert, and try sweet after sweet, small wonder that 
we ruin our digestions and even our appetites for 
the good, hearty, nourishing meal to which art in- 
vites us ! 


Continued Existence of Art. — Why, really, 
does a creative art nowadays continue to exist ? Be- 
cause the majority who have hours of leisure (and 
such an art is for them only) think that they cannot 


fill up their time without music, theatres and picture- 
galleries, novels and poetry. Granted that one 
could keep them from this indulgence, either they 
would strive less eagerly for leisure, and the in- 
vidious sight of the rich would be less common (a 
great gain for the stability of society), or they would 
have leisure, but would learn to reflect on what can 
be learnt and unlearnt : on their work, for instance, 
their associations, the pleasure they could bestow. 
All the world, with the exception of the artist, would 
in both cases reap the advantage. — Certainly, there 
are many vigorous, sensible readers who could take 
objection to this. Still, it must be said on behalf of 
the coarse and malignant that the author himself is 
concerned with this protest, and that there is in his 
book much to be read that is not actually written 
down therein. 


The Mouthpiece of the Gods. — The poet 
expresses the universal higher opinions of the 
nation, he is its mouthpiece and flute ; but by 
virtue of metre and all other artistic means he so 
expresses them that the nation regards them as 
something quite new and wonderful, and believes 
in all seriousness that he is the mouthpiece of the 
Gods. Yes, under the clouds of creation the poet 
himself forgets whence he derives all his intellectual 
wisdom — from father and mother, from teachers and 
books of all kinds, from the street and particularly 
from the priest. He is deceived by his own art, 
and really believes, in a naive period, that a God 
is speaking through him, that he is creating in a 


state of religious inspiration. As a matter of fact, 
he is only saying what he has learnt, a medley of 
popular wisdom and popular foolishness. Hence, 
so far as a poet is really vox populi he is held to be 
vox dei. 


What all Art wants to Do and Cannot. — 
The last and hardest task of the artist is the pre- 
sentment of what remains the same, reposes in 
itself, is lofty and simple and free from the bizarre. 
Hence the noblest forms of moral perfection are 
rejected as inartistic by weaker artists, because the 
sight of these fruits is too painful for their ambition. 
The fruit gleams at them from the topmost branches 
of art, but they lack the ladder, the courage, the 
grip to venture so high. In himself a Phidias is 
quite possible as a poet, but, if modern strength be 
taken into consideration, almost solely in the sense 
that to God nothing is impossible. The desire for 
a poetical Claude Lorrain is already an immodesty 
at present, however earnestly one man's heart may 
yearn for such a consummation. — The presentment 
of the highest man, the most simple and at the same 
time the most complete, has hitherto been beyond 
the scope of all artists. Perhaps, however, the 
Greeks, in the ideal of Athene, saw farther than 
any men did before or after their time. 


Art and Restoration. — The retrograde move- 
ments in history, the so-called periods of restora- 
tion, which try to revive intellectual and social 



conditions that existed before those immediately 
preceding, — and seem really to succeed in giving 
them a brief resurrection, — have the charm of 
sentimental recollection, ardent longing for what is 
almost lost, hasty embracing of a transitory happi- 
ness. It is on account of this strange trend towards 
seriousness that in such transient and almost dreamy 
periods art and poetry find a natural soil, just as the 
tenderest and rarest plants grow on mountain-slopes 
of steep declivity. — Thus many a good artist is un- 
wittingly impelled to a "restoration" way of thinking 
in politics and society, for which, on his own account, 
he prepares a quiet little corner and garden. Here 
he collects about himself the human remains of the 
historical epoch that appeals to him, and plays his lyre 
to many who are dead, half-dead, and weary to death, 
perhaps with the above-mentioned result of a brief 

Happiness of the Age. — In two respects our 
age is to be accounted happy. With respect to the 
past, we enjoy all cultures and their productions, and 
nurture ourselves on the noblest blood of all periods. 
We stand sufficiently near to the magic of the 
forces from whose womb these periods are born to 
be able in passing to submit to their spell with 
pleasure and terror ; whereas earlier cultures could 
only enjoy themselves, and never looked beyond 
themselves, but were rather overarched by a bell of 
broader or narrower dome, through which indeed 
light streamed down to them, but which their gaze 
could not pierce. With respect to the future, 


there opens out to us for the first time a mighty, 
comprehensive vista of human and economic pur- 
poses engirdling the whole inhabited globe. At 
the same time, we feel conscious of a power our- 
selves to take this new task in hand without presump- 
tion, without requiring supernatural aids. Yes, 
whatever the result of our enterprise, however much 
we may have overestimated our strength, at any 
rate we need render account to no one but our- 
selves, and mankind can henceforth begin to do 
with itself what it will. — There are, it is true, 
peculiar human bees, who only know how to suck 
the bitterest and worst elements from the chalice 
of every flower. It is true that all flowers contain 
something that is not honey, but these bees may 
be allowed to feel in their own way about the 
happiness of our time, and continue to build up 
their hive of discomfort. 

1 80. 

A Vision. — Hours of instruction and meditation 
for adults, even the most mature, and such institu- 
tions visited without compulsion but in accordance 
with the moral injunction of the whole community ; 
the churches as the meeting-places most worthy and 
rich in memories for the purpose ; at the same time 
daily festivals in honour of the reason that is at- 
tained and attainable by man ; a newer and fuller 
budding and blooming of the ideal of the teacher, 
in which the clergyman, the artist and the physician, 
the man of science and the sage are blended, and 
their individual virtues should come to the fore as 


a collective virtue in their teaching itself, in their 
discourses, in their method — this is my ever-re- 
curring vision, of which I firmly believe that it has 
raised a corner of the veil of the future. 


Education a Distortion. — The extraordinary 
haphazardness of the whole system of education, 
which leads every adult to say nowadays that his sole 
educator was chance, and the weathercock-nature 
of educational methods and aims, may be explained 
as follows. The oldest and the newest culture- 
powers, as in a turbulent mass-meeting, would rather 
be heard than understood, and wish to prove at all 
costs by their outcries and clamourings that they 
still exist or already exist. The poor teachers and 
educators are first dazed by this senseless noise, 
then become silent and finally apathetic, allowing 
anything to be done to them just as they in their 
turn allow anything to be done to their pupils. 
They are not trained themselves, so how are they 
to train others ? They are themselves no straight- 
growing, vigorous, succulent trees, and he who 
wishes Xo attach himself to them must wind and 
bend himself and finally become distorted and de- 
formed as they. 


Philosophers and Artists of the Age. — 
Rhapsody and frigidity, burning desires and wan- 
ing of the heart's glow — this wretched medley is to 
be found in the picture of the highest European 
society of the present day. There the artist thinks 
vol. 11. G 


that he is achieving a great deal when through his 
art he lights the torch of the heart as well as the 
torch of desire. The philosopher has the same 
notion, when in the chilliness of his heart, which he 
has in common with his age, he cools hot desires in 
himself and his following by his world-denying judg- 


Not to be a Soldier of Culture without 
Necessity. — At last people are learning what it 
costs us so dear not to know in our youth — that 
we must first do superior actions and secondly 
seek the superior wherever and under whatever 
names it is to be found ; that we must at once go out 
of the way of all badness and mediocrity without 
fighting it ; and that even doubt as to the excellence 
of a thing (such as quickly arises in one of practised 
taste) should rank as an argument against it and a 
reason for completely avoiding it. We must not 
shrink from the danger of occasionally making a 
mistake and confounding the less accessible good 
with the bad and imperfect. Only he who can do 
nothing better should attack the world's evils as 
the soldier of culture. But those who should support 
culture and spread its teachings ruin themselves 
if they go about armed, and by precautions, night- 
watches, and bad dreams turn the peace of their 
domestic and artistic life into sinister unrest. 


How Natural History should be Ex- 
pounded. — Natural history, like the history of the 


war and victory of moral and intellectual forces 
in the campaign against anxiety, self-delusion, lazi- 
ness, superstition, folly, should be so expounded 
that every reader or listener may be continually 
aroused to strive after mental and physical health 
and soundness, after the feeling of joy, and be 
awakened to the desire to be the heir and continu- 
ator of mankind, to an ever nobler adventurous im- 
pulse. Hitherto natural history has not found its 
true language, because the inventive and eloquent 
artists — who are needed for this purpose — never 
rid themselves of a secret mistrust of it, and above 
all never wish to learn from it a thorough lesson. 
Nevertheless it must be conceded to the English 
that their scientific manuals for the lower strata 
of the people have made admirable strides towards 
that ideal. But then such books are written by 
their foremost men of learning, full, complete, and 
inspiring natures, and not, as among us, by mediocre 

Genius in Humanity. — If genius, according to 
Schopenhauer's observation, lies in the coherent 
and vivid recollection of our own experience, a 
striving towards genius in humanity collectively 
might be deduced from the striving towards know- 
ledge of the whole historic past — which is begin- 
ning to mark off the modern age more and more 
as compared with earlier ages and has for the first 
time broken down the barriers between nature and 
spirit, men and animals, morality and physics. A 
perfectly conceived history would be cosmic self- 



1 86. 

The Cult of Culture. — On great minds is 
bestowed the terrifying all-too-human of their 
natures, their blindnesses, deformities, and extra- 
vagances, so that their more powerful, easily all- 
too-powerful influence may be continually held 
within bounds through the distrust aroused by such 
qualities. For the sum-total of all that human- 
ity needs for its continued existence is so com- 
prehensive, and demands powers so diverse and so 
numerous, that for every one-sided predilection, 
whether in science or politics or art or commerce, to 
which such natures would persuade us, mankind as 
a whole has to pay a heavy price. It has always 
been a great disaster to culture when human beings 
are worshipped. In this sense we may understand 
the precept of Mosaic law which forbids us to have 
any other gods but God. — Side by side with the 
cult of genius and violence we must always place, 
as its complement and remedy, the cult of culture. 
This cult can find an intelligent appreciation 
even for the material, the inferior, the mean, the 
misunderstood, the weak, the imperfect, the one- 
sided, the incomplete, the untrue, the apparent, even 
the wicked and horrible, and can grant them the 
concession that all this is necessary. For the 
continued harmony of all things human, attained 
by amazing toil and strokes of luck, and just as 
much the work of Cyclopes and ants as of geniuses, 
shall never be lost. How, indeed, could we dis- 
pense with that deep, universal, and often uncanny 


bass, without which, after all, melody cannot be 
melody ? 


The Antique World and Pleasure. — The 
man of the antique world understood better how to 
rejoice, we understand better how to grieve less. 
They continually found new motives for feeling 
happy, for celebrating festivals, being inventive with 
all their wealth of shrewdness and reflection. We, 
on the other hand, concentrate our intellect rather 
on the solving of problems which have in view 
painlessness and the removal of sources of dis- 
comfort. With regard to suffering existence, the 
ancients sought to forget or in some way to convert 
the sensation into a pleasant one, thus trying to 
supply palliatives. We attack the causes of suffering, 
and on the whole prefer to use prophylactics. — 
Perhaps we are only building upon a foundation 
whereon a later age will once more set up the temple 
of joy. 


The Muses as Liars. — " We know how to tell 
many lies," so sang the Muses once, when they 
revealed themselves to Hesiod. — The conception of 
the artist as deceiver, once grasped, leads to im- 
portant discoveries. 


How Paradoxical Homer can be. — Is there 
anything more desperate, more horrible, more in- 
credible, shining over human destiny like a winter 
sun, than that idea of Homer's : 


" So the decree of the Gods willed it, and doomed 
man to perish, that it might be a matter for song 
even to distant generations " ? 

In other words, we suffer and perish so that poets 
may not lack material, and this is the dispensation 
of those very Gods of Homer who seem much con- 
cerned about the joyousness of generations to come, 
but very little about us men of the present. To 
think that such ideas should ever have entered the 
head of a Greek ! 


Supplementary Justification of Exist- 
ence. — Many ideas have come into the world as 
errors and fancies but have turned out truths, be- 
cause men have afterwards given them a genuine 
basis to rest upon. 


Pro and Con Necessary. — He who has not 
realised that every great man must not only be en- 
couraged but also, for the sake of the common 
welfare, opposed, is certainly still a great child — or 
himself a great man. 


Injustice of Genius. — Genius is most unjust 
towards geniuses, if they be contemporary. Either 
it thinks it has no need of them and considers them 
superfluous (for it can do without them), or their 
influence crosses the path of its electric current, in 
which case it even calls them pernicious. 


The Saddest Destiny of a Prophet. — He 
has worked twenty years to convince his con- 
temporaries, and succeeds at last, but in the mean- 
time his adversaries have also succeeded — he is no 
longer convinced of himself. 


Three Thinkers like one Spider.— In every 
philosophical school three thinkers follow one an- 
other in this relation: the first produces from 
himself sap and seed, the second draws it out in 
threads and spins a cunning web, the third waits in 
this web for the victims who are caught in it — and 
tries to live upon this philosophy. 


From Association with Authors. — It is as 
bad a habit to go about with an author grasping 
him by the nose as grasping him by the horn (and 
every author has his horn). 


A Team of Two. — Vagueness of thought and 
outbursts of sentimentality are as often wedded to 
the reckless desire to have one's own way by hook 
or by crook, to make oneself alone of any conse- 
quence, as a genuinely helpful, gracious, and kindly 
spirit is wedded to the impulse towards clearness 


and purity of thought and towards emotional mod- 
eration and self-restraint. 


Binding and Separating Forces. — Surely it 
is in the heads of men that there arises the force 
that binds them — an understanding of their common 
interest or the reverse ; and in their hearts the force 
that separates them — a blind choosing and groping 
in love and hate, a devotion to one at the expense 
of all, and a consequent contempt for the common 


Marksmen and Thinkers. — There are curious 
marksmen who miss their mark, but leave the 
shooting-gallery with secret pride in the fact that 
their bullet at any rate flew very far (beyond the 
mark, it is true), or that it did not hit the mark but 
hit something else. There are thinkers of the same 


Attack from Two Sides.— We act as enemies 
towards an intellectual tendency or movement when 
we are superior to it and disapprove of its aim, or 
when its aim is too high and unrecognisable to our 
eye — in other words, when it is superior to us. So 
the same party may be attacked from two sides, 
from above and from below. Not infrequently the 
assailants, from common hatred, form an alliance 
which is more repulsive than all that they hate. 


ORIGINAL. — Original minds are distinguished not 
by being the first to see a new thing, but by seeing 
the old, well-known thing, which is seen and over- 
looked by every one, as something new. The first 
discoverer is usually that quite ordinary and un- 
intellectual visionary — chance. 

Error of Philosophers. — The philosopher 
believes that the value of his philosophy lies in the 
whole, in the structure. Posterity finds it in the 
stone with which he built and with which, from that 
time forth, men will build oftener and better — in 
other words, in the fact that the structure may be 
destroyed and yet have value as material. 

Wit. — Wit is the epitaph of an emotion. 


The Moment before Solution. — In science it 
occurs every day and every hour that a man, im- 
mediately before the solution, remains stuck, being 
convinced that his efforts have been entirely in vain 
— like one who, in untying a noose, hesitates at the 
moment when it is nearest to coming loose, because 
at that very moment it looks most like a knot. 


Among the Visionaries. — The thoughtful 
man, and he who is sure of his intelligence, may 


profitably consort with visionaries for a decade and 
abandon himself in their torrid zone to a moderate 
insanity. He will thus have travelled a good part 
of the road towards that cosmopolitanism of the in- 
tellect which can say without presumption, " Noth- 
ing intellectual is alien to me." 


Keen Air. — The best and healthiest element in 
science as amid the mountains is the keen air that 
plays about it. — Intellectual molly-coddles (such as 
artists) dread and abuse science on account of this 


Why Savants are Nobler than Artists. 
— Science requires nobler natures than does poetry; 
natures that are more simple, less ambitious, more 
restrained, calmer, that think less of posthumous 
fame and can bury themselves in studies which, in 
the eye of the many, scarcely seem worthy of such 
a sacrifice of personality. There is another loss of 
which they are conscious. The nature of their occu- 
pation, its continual exaction of the greatest sobriety, 
weakens their will ; the fire is not kept up so vigor- 
ously as on the hearths of poetic minds. As such, 
they often lose their strength and prime earlier than 
artists do — and, as has been said, they are aware of 
their danger. Under all circumstances they seem 
less gifted because they shine less, and thus they 
will always be rated below their value. 


How Far Piety Obscures. — In later centuries 
the great man is credited with all the great qualities 
and virtues of his century. Thus all that is best 
is continually obscured by piety, which treats the 
picture as a sacred one, to be surrounded with all 
manner of votive offerings. In the end the picture 
is completely veiled and covered by the offerings, 
and thenceforth is more an object of faith than of 


Standing on One's Head. — If we make truth 
stand on its head, we generally fail to notice that 
our own head, too, is not in its right position. 


Origin and Utility of Fashion. — The obvi- 
ous satisfaction of the individual with his own form 
excites imitation and gradually creates the form of 
the many — that is, fashion. The many desire, and 
indeed attain, that same comforting satisfaction with 
their own form. Consider how many reasons every 
man has for anxiety and shy self-concealment, and 
how, on this account, three-fourths of his energy 
and goodwill is crippled and may become unpro- 
ductive ! So we must be very grateful to fashion for 
unfettering that three-fourths and communicating 
self-confidence and the power of cheerful compro- 
mise to those who feel themselves bound to each 
other by its law. Even foolish laws give freedom 


and calm of the spirit, so long as many persons have 
submitted to their sway. 


Looseners of Tongues. — The value of many 
men and books rests solely on their faculty for com- 
pelling all to speak out the most hidden and in- 
timate things. They are looseners of tongues and 
crowbars to open the most stubborn teeth. Many 
events and misdeeds which are apparently only sent 
as a curse to mankind possess this value and utility. 


Intellectual Freedom of Domicile.* — Who 
of us could dare to call himself a " free spirit " if he 
could not render homage after his fashion, by taking 
on his own shoulders a portion of that burden of 
public dislike and abuse, to men to whom this name 
is attached as a reproach ? We might as well call 
ourselves in all seriousness " spirits free of domicile " 
{Freiziigig) (and without that arrogant or high- 
spirited defiance) because we feel the impulse to 
freedom {Zug zur Freiheit) as the strongest instinct 
of our minds and, in contrast to fixed and limited 
minds, practically see our ideal in an intellectual 
nomadism — to use a rgodest and almost deprecia- 
tory expression. 

* The original word, Freiziigig^ means, in the modern Ger- 
man Empire, possessing the free right of migration, without 
pecuniary burdens or other restrictions, from one German 
state to another. The play on words in Zug zur Freiheit 
(" impulse to freedom ") is untranslateable. — Tr. 


Yes, the Favour of the IvfusEs!— What 
Homer says on this point goes right to our heart, so 
true, so terrible is it : 

" The Muse loved him with all her heart and gave 
him good and evil, for she took away his eyes and 
vouchsafed him sweet song." 

This is an endless text for thinking men: she 
gives good and evil, that is her manner of loving 
with all her heart and soul ! And each man will 
interpret specially for himself why we poets and 
thinkers have to give up our eyes in her service.* 

Against the Cultivation of Music— The 
artistic training of the eye from childhood upwards 
by means of drawing, painting, landscape-sketching, 
figures, scenes, involves an estimable gain in life, 
making the eyesight keen, calm, and enduring in 
the observation of men and circumstances. No 
similar secondary advantage arises from the artistic 
cultivation of the ear, whence public schools will 
generally do well to give the art of the eye a pre- 
ference over that of the ear. 

The Discoverers of Trivialities. — Subtle 
minds, from which nothing is farther than trivialities, 
often discover a triviality after taking all manner of 

* Nietzsche seems to allude to his own case, for he ulti- 
mately contracted a myopia which bordered on blindness. 
— Tr. 


circuitous routes and mountain paths, and, to the 
astonishment of the non-subtle, rejoice exceedingly. 


Morals of Savants.— -A regular and rapid 
advance in the sciences is only possible when the 
individual is compelled to be not so distrustful as 
to test every calculation and assertion of others, in 
fields which are remote from his own. A necessary 
condition, however, is that every man should have 
competitors in his own sphere, who are extremely 
distrustful and keep a sharp eye upon him. From 
this juxtaposition of " not too distrustful " and " ex- 
tremely distrustful " arises sincerity in the republic 
of learning. 


Reasons for Sterility. — There are highly 
gifted minds which are always sterile only because, 
from temperamental weakness, they are too impa- 
tient to wait for their pregnancy. 


The Perverted World of Tears. — The 
manifold discomforts which the demands of higher 
culture cause to man finally pervert his nature to 
such an extent that he usually keeps himself stoical 
and unbending. Thus he has tears in reserve only 
for rare occasions of happiness, so that many must 
weep even at the enjoyment of painlessness — only 
when happy does his heart still beat. 


The Greeks as Interpreters. — When we 
speak of the Greeks we unwittingly speak of to-day 
and yesterday ; their universally known history is 
a blank mirror, always reflecting something that is 
not in the mirror itself. We enjoy the freedom of 
speaking about them in order to have the right 
of being silent about others — so that these Greeks 
themselves may whisper something in the ear of 
the reflective reader. Thus the Greeks facilitate to 
modern men the communication of much that is 
debatable and hard to communicate. 


Of the Acquired Character oftheGreeks. 
— We are easily led astray by the renowned Greek 
clearness,transparency,simplicity,and order, by their 
crystal-like naturalness and crystal-like art, into be- 
lieving that all these gifts were bestowed on the 
Greeks — for instance, that they could not but write 
well, as Lichtenberg expressed it on one occasion. 
Yet no statement could be more hasty and more 
untenable. The history of prose from Gorgias to 
Demosthenes shows a course of toiling and wrest- 
ling towards light from the obscure, overloaded, 
and tasteless, reminding one of the labour of heroes 
who had to construct the first roads through forest 
and bog. The dialogue of tragedy was the real 
achievement of the dramatist, owing to its uncom- 
mon clearness and precision, whereas the national 
tendency was to riot in symbolism and innuendo, 
a tendency expressly fostered by the great choral 


lyric. Similarly it was the achievement of Homer 
to liberate the Greeks from Asiatic pomp and 
gloom, and to have attained the clearness of archi- 
tecture in details great and small. Nor was it by any 
means thought easy to say anything in a pure and 
illuminating style. How else should we account for 
the great admiration for the epigram of Simonides, 
which shows itself so simple, with no gilded points 
or arabesques of wit, but says all that it has to say 
plainly and with the calm of the sun, not with the 
straining after effect of the lightning. Since the 
struggle towards light from an almost native twilight 
is Greek, a thrill of jubilation runs through the people 
when they hear a laconic sentence, the language of 
elegy or the maxims of the Seven Wise Men. Hence 
they were so fond of giving precepts in verse, a prac- 
tice that we find objectionable. This was the true 
Apolline task of the Hellenic spirit, with the aim 
of rising superior to the perils of metre and the 
obscurity which is otherwise characteristic of poetry. 
Simplicity, flexibility, and sobriety were wrestled 
for and not given by nature to this people. The 
danger of a relapse into Asianism constantly hovered 
over the Greeks, and really overtook them from time 
to time like a murky, overflowing tide of mystical 
impulses, primitive savagery and darkness. We 
see them plunge in ; we see Europe, as it were, 
flooded, washed away — for Europe was very small 
then ; but they always emerge once more to the 
light, good swimmers and divers that they are, those 
fellow-countrymen of Odysseus. 



The Pagan Characteristic. — Perhaps there 
is nothing more astonishing to the observer of the 
Greek world than to discover that the Greeks from 
time to time held festivals, as it were, for all their 
passions and evil tendencies alike, and in fact even 
established a kind of series of festivals, by order of 
the State, for their " all-too-human." This is the 
pagan characteristic of their world, which Christianity- 
has never understood and never can understand, and 
has always combated and despised. — They accepted 
this all-too-human as unavoidable, and preferred, 
instead of railing at it, to give it a kind of secondary 
right by grafting it on to the usages of society and 
religion. All in man that has power they called 
divine, and wrote it on the walls of their heaven. 
They do not deny this natural instinct that expresses 
itself in evil characteristics, but regulate and limit 
it to definite cults and days, so as to turn those tur- 
bulent streams into as harmless a course as possible, 
after devising sufficient precautionary measures. 
That is the root of all the moral broad-mindedness 
of antiquity. To the wicked, the dubious, the back- 
ward, the animal element, as to the barbaric, pre- 
Hellenic and Asiatic, which still lived in the depths 
of Greek nature, they allowed a moderate outflow, 
and did not strive to destroy it utterly. The whole 
system was under the domain of the State, which 
was built up not on individuals or castes, but on 
common human qualities. In the structure of the 
State the Greeks show that wonderful sense for typi- 
cal facts which later on enabled them to become in- 
vestigators of Nature, historians, geographers, and 
vol. 11. H 


philosophers. It was not a limited moral law of 
priests or castes, which had to decide about the 
constitution of the State and State worship, but the 
most comprehensive view of the reality of all that is 
human. Whence do the Greeks derive this freedom, 
this sense of reality ? Perhaps from Homer and the 
poets who preceded him. For just those poets whose 
nature is generally not the most wise or just possess, 
in compensation, that delight in reality and activity 
of every kind, and prefer not to deny even evil. It 
suffices for them if evil moderates itself, does not 
kill or inwardly poison everything — in other words, 
they have similar ideas to those of the founders of 
Greek constitutions, and were their teachers and 


Exceptional Greeks. — In Greece, deep, thor- 
ough, serious minds were the exception. The na- 
tional instinct tended rather to regard the serious 
and thorough as a kind of grimace. To borrow 
forms from a foreign source, not to create but to 
transform into the fairest shapes — that is Greek. 
To imitate, not for utility but for artistic illusion, 
ever and anon to gain the mastery over forced 
seriousness, to arrange, beautify, simplify — that is 
the continual task from Homer to the Sophists of 
the third and fourth centuries of our era, who are all 
outward show, pompous speech, declamatory ges- 
tures, and address themselves to shallow souls that 
care only for appearance, sound, and effect. And 
now let us estimate the greatness of those exceptional 
Greeks, who created science ! Whoever tells of them , 
tells the most heroic story of the human mind ! 


Simplicity not the First nor the Last 
Thing in Point of Time. — In the history of 
religious ideas many errors about development 
and false gradations are made in matters which 
in reality are not consecutive outgrowths but con- 
temporary yet separate phenomena. In particular, 
simplicity has still far too much the reputation of 
being the- oldest, the initial thing. Much that is 
human arises by subtraction and division, and not 
merely by doubling, addition, and unification. — For 
instance, men still believe in a gradual development 
of the idea of God from those unwieldy stones and 
blocks of wood up to the highest forms of anthropo- 
morphism. Yet the fact is that so long as divinity 
was attributed to and felt in trees, logs of wood, 
stones, and beasts, people shrank from humanising 
their forms as from an act of godlessness. First 
of all, poets, apart from all considerations of cult 
and the ban of religious shame, have had to make 
the inner imagination of man accustomed and com- 
pliant to this notion. Wherever more pious periods 
and phases of thought gained the upper hand, this 
liberating influence of poets fell into the back- 
ground, and sanctity remained, after as before, on 
the side of the monstrous, uncanny, quite peculiarly 
inhuman. And then, much of what the inner im- 
agination ventures to picture to itself would exert a 
painful influence if externally and corporeally re- 
presented. The inner eye is far bolder and more 
shameless than the outer (whence the well-known 
difficulty and, to some extent, impossibility, of 


working epic material into dramatic form). The 
religious imagination for a long time entirely refuses 
to believe in the identity of God with an image : 
the image is meant to fix the numen of the Deity, 
actually and specifically, although in a mysterious 
and not altogether intelligible way. The oldest 
image of the Gods is meant to shelter and at the 
same time to hide* the God — to indicate him but not 
to expose him to view. No Greek really looked upon 
his Apollo as a pointed pillar of wood, his Eros as 
a lump of stone. These were symbols, which were 
intended to inspire dread of the manifestation of the 
God. It was the same with those blocks of wood 
out of which individual limbs, generally in excessive 
number, were fashioned with the scantiest of carv- 
ing — as, for instance, a Laconian Apollo with four 
hands and four ears. In the incomplete, symbolical, 
or excessive lies a terrible sanctity, which is meant 
to prevent us from thinking of anything human or 
similar to humanity. It is not an embryonic stage 
of art in which such things are made — as if they 
were not able to speak more plainly and portray 
more sensibly in the age when such images were 
honoured ! Rather, men are afraid of just one thing 
— direct speaking out. Just as the cella hides and 
conceals in a mysterious twilight, yet not completely, 
the holy of holies, the real numen of the Deity; just 
as, again, the peripteric temple hides the cella, pro- 
tecting it from indiscreet eyes as with a screen and 
a veil, yet not completely — so it is with the image of 
the Deity, and at the same time the concealment of 

* The play on bergen (shelter) and verbergen (hide) is un- 
translateable.— Tr. 


the Deity. — Only when outside the cult, in the pro- 
fane world of athletic contest, the joy in the victor 
had risen so high that the ripples thus started 
reacted upon the lake of religious emotion, was 
the statue of the victor set up before the temple. 
Then the pious pilgrim had to accustom his eye 
and his soul, whether he would or no, to the inevit- 
able sight of human beauty and super-strength, so 
that the worship of men and Gods melted into each 
other from physical and spiritual contact. Then too 
for the first time the fear of really humanising the 
figures of the Gods is lost, and the mighty arena for 
great plastic art is opened — even now with the limi- 
tation that wherever there is to be adoration the 
primitive form and ugliness are carefully preserved 
and copied. But the Hellene, as he dedicates and 
makes offerings, may now with religious sanction 
indulge in his delight in making God become a man. 


Whither We must Travel. — Immediate self- 
observation is not enough, by a long way, to enable 
us to learn to know ourselves. We need history, for 
the past continues to flow through us in a hundred 
channels. We ourselves are, after all, nothing but 
our own sensation at every moment of this continued 
flow. Even here, when we wish to step down into 
the stream of our apparently most peculiar and per- 
sonal development, Heraclitus' aphorism, "You can- 
not step twice into the same river," holds good. — 
This is a piece of wisdom which has, indeed, gradu- 
ally become trite, but nevertheless has remained as 


strong and true as it ever was. It is the same with 
the saying that, in order to understand history, we 
must scrutinise the living remains of historical 
periods ; that we must travel, as old Herodotus tra- 
velled, to other nations, especially to those so-called 
savage or half-savage races in regions where man 
has doffed or not yet donned European garb. For 
they are ancient and firmly established steps of 
culture on which we can stand. There is, however, 
a more subtle art and aim in travelling, which does 
not always necessitate our passing from place to 
place and going thousands of miles away. Very 
probably the last three centuries, in all their colour- 
ings and refractions of culture, survive even in our 
vicinity, only they have to be discovered. In some 
families, or even in individuals, the strata are still 
superimposed on each other, beautifully and per- 
ceptibly ; in other places there are dispersions and 
displacements of the structure which are harder to 
understand. Certainly in remote districts, in less 
known mountain valleys, circumscribed communi- 
ties have been able more easily to maintain an ad- 
mirable pattern of a far older sentiment, a pattern 
that must here be investigated. On the other hand, 
it is improbable that such discoveries will be made 
in Berlin, where man comes into the world washed- 
out and sapless. He who after long practice of this 
art of travel has become a hundred-eyed Argus will 
accompany his Io — I mean his ego — everywhere, and 
in Egypt and Greece, Byzantium and Rome, France 
and Germany, in the age of wandering or settled 
races, in Renaissance or Reformation, at home and 
abroad, in sea, forest, plant, and mountain, will again 


light upon the travel-adventure of this ever-growing, 
ever -altered ego. — Thus self-knowledge becomes 
universal knowledge as regards the entire past, and, 
by another chain of observation, which can only be 
indicated here, self-direction and self-training in the 
freest and most far-seeing spirits might become uni- 
versal direction as regards all future humanity. 


Balm and Poison. — We cannot ponder too 
deeply on this fact : Christianity is the religion of 
antiquity grown old ; it presupposes degenerate old 
culture-stocks,and on them it had, and still has, power 
to work like balm. There are periods when ears and 
eyes are full of slime, so that they can no longer 
hear the voice of reason and philosophy or see the 
wisdom that walks in bodily shape, whether it bears 
the name of Epictetus or of Epicurus. Then, per- 
haps, the erection of the martyr's cross and the 
" trumpet of the last judgment " may have the effect 
of still inspiring such races to end their lives de- 
cently. If we think of Juvenal's Rome, of that 
poisonous toad with the eyes of Venus, we under- 
stand what it means to make the sign of the Cross 
before the world, we honour the silent Christian com- 
munity and are grateful for its having stifled the 
Greco-Roman Empire. If, indeed, most men were 
then born in spiritual slavery, with the sensuality of 
old men, what a pleasure to meet beings who were 
more soul than body, and who seemed to realise the 
Greek idea of the shades of the under-world — shy, 
scurrying, chirping, kindly creatures, with a rever- 


sion on the " better life," and therefore so unassum- 
ing, so secretly scornful, so proudly patient ! — This 
Christianity, as the evening chime of the good an- 
tiquity, with cracked, weary and yet melodious bell, 
is balm in the ears even to one who only now tra- 
verses those centuries historically. What must it 
have been to those men themselves ! — To young and 
fresh barbarian nations, on the other hand, Christi- 
anity is a poison. For to implant the teaching of 
sinfulness and damnation in the heroic, childlike, 
and animal soul of the old Germans is nothing but 
poisoning. An enormous chemical fermentation and 
decomposition, a medley of sentiments and judg- 
ments, a rank growth of adventurous legend, and 
hence in the long run a fundamental weakening of 
such barbarian peoples, was the inevitable result. 
True, without this weakening what should we have 
left of Greek culture, of the whole cultured past of 
the human race ? For the barbarians untouched by 
Christianity knew very well how to make a clean 
sweep of old cultures, as was only too clearly shown 
by the heathen conquerors of Romanised Britain. 
Thus Christianity, against its will, was compelled to 
aid in making "the antique world " immortal. — There 
remains, however, a counter-question and the possi- 
bility of a counter-reckoning. Without this weaken- 
ing through the poisoning referred to, would any of 
those fresh stocks — the Germans, for instance — have 
been in a position gradually to find by themselves a 
higher, a peculiar, a new culture, of which the most 
distant conception would therefore have been lost 
to humanity? — In this, as in every case, we do not 
know, Christianly speaking, whether God owes the 


devil or the devil God more thanks for everything 
having turned out as it has. 

Faith makes Holy and Condemns. — A 
Christian who happened upon forbidden paths of 
thought might well ask himself on some occasion 
whether it is really necessary that there should be a 
God, side by side with a representative Lamb, if 
faith in the existence of these beings suffices to pro- 
duce the same influences? If they do exist after 
all, are they not superfluous beings ? For all that 
is given by the Christian religion to the human soul, 
all that is beneficent, consoling, and edifying, just as 
much as all that depresses and crushes, emanates 
from that faith and not from the objects of that 
faith. It is here as in another well-known case — 
there were indeed no witches, but the terrible effects 
of the belief in witches were the same as if they 
really had existed. For all occasions where the 
Christian awaits the immediate intervention of a 
God, though in vain (for there is no God), his religion 
is inventive enough to find subterfuges and reasons 
for tranquillity. In so far Christianity is an ingenious 
religion. — Faith, indeed, has up to the present not 
been able to move real mountains, although I do 
not know who assumed that it could. But it can 
put mountains where there are none. 

The Tragi-Comedy of Regensburg. — Here 
and there we see with terrible clearness the harle- 
quinade of Fortune, how she fastens the rope, on 


which she wills that succeeding centuries should 
dance, on to a few days, one place, the condition 
and opinions of one brain. Thus the fate of modern 
German history lies in the days of that disputation 
at Regensburg : the peaceful settlement of ecclesi- 
astical and moral affairs, without religious wars or a 
counter-reformation, and also the unity of the Ger- 
man nation, seemed assured : the deep, gentle spirit of 
Contarini hovered for one moment over the theologi- 
cal squabble, victorious, as representative of the riper 
Italian piety, reflecting the morning glory of intel- 
lectual freedom. But Luther's hard head, full of 
suspicions and strange misgivings, showed resist- 
ance. Because justification by grace appeared to 
him his greatest motto and discovery, he did not 
believe the phrase in the mouth of Italians ; where- 
as, in point of fact, as is well known, they had 
invented it much earlier and spread it throughout 
Italy in deep silence. In this apparent agreement 
Luther saw the tricks of the devil, and hindered the 
work of peace as well as he could, thereby advan- 
cing to a great extent the aims of the Empire's foes. 
— And now, in order to have a still stronger idea of 
the dreadful farcicality of it all, let us add that none 
of the principles about which men then disputed in 
Regensburg — neither that of original sin, nor that of 
redemption by proxy, nor that of justification by 
faith — is in any way true or even has any connection 
with truth : that they are now all recognised as in- 
capable of being discussed. Yet on this account 
the world was set on fire — that is to say, by opinions 
which correspond to no things or realities ; whereas 
as regards purely philological questions — as, for in- 


stance, that of the sacramental words in the Eucharist 
— discussion at any rate is permitted, because in this 
case the truth can be said. But " where nothing is, 
even truth has lost her right." * — Lastly, it only re- 
mains to be said that it is true these principles give 
rise to sources of power so mighty that without them 
all the mills of the modern world could not be driven 
with such force. And it is primarily a matter of 
force, only secondarily of truth (and perhaps not 
even secondarily) — is it not so, my dear up-to-date 
friends ? 


Goethe's Errors. — Goethe is a signal excep- 
tion among great artists in that he did not live 
within the limited confines of his real capacity, as if 
that must be the essential, the distinctive, the un- 
conditional, and the last thing in him and for all the 
world. Twice he intended to possess something 
higher than he really possessed — and went astray 
in the second half of his life, where he seems quite 
convinced that he is one of the great scientific dis- 
coverers and illuminators. So too in the first half 
of his life he demanded of himself something higher 
than the poetic art seemed to him — and here already 
he made a mistake. That nature wished to make 
him a plastic artist, — this was his inwardly glowing 
and scorching secret, which finally drove him to 
Italy, that he might give vent to his mania in this 
direction and make to it every possible sacrifice. 
At last, shrewd as he was, and honestly averse to 

* Allusion to German proverb : " Where there is nothing, 
the Emperor has lost his rights." — Tr. 


any mental perversion in himself, he discovered that 
a tricksy elf of desire had attracted him to the belief 
in this calling, and that he must free himself of the 
greatest passion of his heart and bid it farewell. The 
painful conviction, tearing and gnawing at his vitals, 
that it was necessary to bid farewell, finds full ex- 
pression in the character of Tasso. Over Tasso, 
that Werther intensified, hovers the premonition of 
something worse than death, as when one says : 
" Now it is over, after this farewell : how shall I go 
on living without going mad? " These two funda- 
mental errors of his life gave Goethe, in face of a 
purely literary attitude towards poetry (the only 
attitude then known to the world), such an unem- 
barrassed and apparently almost arbitrary position. 
Not to speak of the period when Schiller (poor 
Schiller, who had no time himself and left no time 
to others) drove away his shy dread of poetry, his 
fear of all literary life and craftsmanship, Goethe 
appears like a Greek who now and then visits his 
beloved, doubting whether she be not a Goddess 
to whom he can give no proper name. In all his 
poetry one notices the inspiring neighbourhood of 
plastic art and Nature. The features of these figures 
that floated before him — and perhaps he always 
thought he was on the track of the metamorphoses 
of one Goddess — became, without his will or know- 
ledge, the features of all the children of his art. 
Without the extravagances of error he would not 
have been Goethe — that is, the only German artist 
in writing who has not yet become out of date — just 
because he desired as little to be a writer as a German 
by vocation. 


Travellers and their Grades. — Among 
travellers we may distinguish five grades. The 
first and lowest grade is of those who travel and 
are seen — they become really travelled and are, as 
it were, blind. Next come those who really see 
the world. The third class experience the results 
of their seeing. The fourth weave their experience 
into their life and carry it with them henceforth. 
Lastly, there are some men of the highest strength 
who, as soon as they have returned home, must 
finally and necessarily work out in their lives and 
productions all the things seen that they have 
experienced and incorporated in themselves. — Like 
these five species of travellers, all mankind goes 
through the whole pilgrimage of life, the lowest as 
purely passive, the highest as those who act and 
live out their lives without keeping back any re- 
sidue of inner experiences. 


In Climbing Higher. — So soon as we climb 
higher than those who hitherto admired us, we 
appear to them as sunken and fallen. For they 
imagined that under all circumstances they were on 
the heights in our company (maybe also through 
our agency). 


Measure and Moderation.— Of twoquite lofty 
things, measure and moderation, it is best never to 
speak. A few know their force and significance, 


from the mysterious paths of inner experiences 
and conversions : they honour in them something 
quite godlike, and are afraid to speak aloud. All 
the rest hardly listen when they are spoken about, 
and think the subjects under discussion are tedium 
and mediocrity. We must perhaps except those 
who have once heard a warning note from that 
realm but have stopped their ears against the sound. 
The recollection of it makes them angry and ex- 


Humanity of Friendship and Comrade- 
ship. — " If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will 
go to the right," * that feeling is the hall-mark of 
humanity in intimate intercourse, and without that 
feeling every friendship, every band of apostles or 
disciples, sooner or later becomes a fraud. 


The Profound.— Men of profound thought ap- 
pear to themselves in intercourse with others like 
comedians, for in order to be understood they must 
always simulate superficiality. 


For the Scorners of " Herd-Humanity." — 
He who regards human beings as a herd, and flies 
from them as fast as he can, will certainly be caught 
up by them and gored upon their horns. 

* Genesis xiii. 9.— Tr. 


The Main Transgression against the 
VAIN. — In society, he who gives another an op- 
portunity of favourably setting forth his knowledge, 
sentiments, and experience sets himself above him. 
Unless he is felt by the other to be a superior being 
without limitation, he is guilty of an attack upon his 
vanity, while what he aimed at was the gratification 
of the other man's vanity. 

Disappointment. — When a long life of action 
distinguished by speeches and writings gives pub- 
licity to a man's personality, personal intercourse 
with him is generally disappointing on two grounds. 
Firstly, one expects too much from a brief period 
of intercourse (namely, all that the thousand and 
one opportunities of life can alone bring out). 
Secondly, no recognised person gives himself the 
trouble to woo recognition in individual cases. He 
is too careless, and we are at too high a tension. 


Two Sources of Kindness. — To treat all men 
with equal good-humour, and to be kind without 
distinction of persons, may arise as much from a 
profound contempt for mankind as from an in- 
grained love of humanity. 

The Wanderer in the Mountains to Him- 
self. — There are certain signs that you have gone 


farther and higher. There is a freer, wider prospect 
before you, the air blows cooler yet milder in your 
face (you have unlearned the folly of confounding 
mildness with warmth), your gait is more firm and 
vigorous, courage and discretion have waxed to- 
gether. On all these grounds your journey may 
now be more lonely and in any case more perilous 
than heretofore, if indeed not to the extent be- 
lieved by those who from the misty valley see you, 
the roamer, striding on the mountains. 


With the Exception of Our Neighbour. 
— I admit that my head is set wrong on my neck 
only, for every other man, as is well known, knows 
better than I what I should do or leave alone. 
The only one who cannot help me is myself, poor 
beggar ! Are we not all like statues on which false 
heads have been placed ? Eh, dear neighbour ? — 
Ah no ; you, just you, are the exception ! 

Caution. — We must either not go about at all 
with people who are lacking in the reverence for 
personalities, or inexorably fetter them beforehand 
with the manacles of convention. 


The Wish to Appear Vain. — In conversation 
with strangers or little-known acquaintances, to 
express only selected thoughts, to speak of one's 
famous acquaintances, and important experiences 


and travels, is a sign that one is not proud, or at 
least would not like to appear proud. Vanity is the 
polite mask of pride. 


Good Friendship. — A good friendship arises 
when the one man deeply respects the other, more 
even than himself; loves him also, though not so 
much as himself; and finally, to facilitate intercourse, 
knows how to add the delicate bloom and veneer 
of intimacy, but at the same time wisely refrains 
from a true, real intimacy, from the confounding of 
meum and tuum. 


Friends as Ghosts. — If we change ourselves 
vitally, our friends, who have not changed, become 
ghosts of our own past : their voice sounds shadowy 
and dreadful to us, as if we heard our own voice 
speaking, but younger, harder, less mellow. 

One]Eye andTwo Glances.— The same people 
whose eyes naturally plead for favours and indul- 
gences are accustomed, from their frequent humilia- 
tions and cravings for revenge, to assume a shame- 
less glance as well. 


The Haze of Distance.— A child throughout 
life — that sounds very touching, but is only the 
verdict from the distance. Seen and known close 
at hand, he is always called "puerile throughout 




Advantage and Disadvantage in the Same 
Misunderstanding. — The mute perplexity of 
the subtle brain is usually understood by the non- 
subtle as a silent superiority, and is much dreaded 
whereas the perception of perplexity would produce 
good will. 


The Sage giving Himself out to be a 
Fool. — The philanthropy of the sage sometimes 
makes him decide to pretend to be excited, enraged, 
or delighted, so that he may not hurt his surround- 
ings by the coldness and rationality of his true 


Forcing Oneself to Attention. — So soon 
as we note that any one in intercourse and conver- 
sation with us has to force himself to attention, we 
have adequate evidence that he loves us not, or loves 
us no longer. 


The Way to a Christian Virtue.— Learning 
from one's enemies is the best way to love them, for 
it inspires us with a grateful mood towards them. 

Stratagem of the Importunate. — The im- 
portunate man gives us gold coins as change for 
our convention coins, and thereby tries to force us 
afterwards to treat our convention as an oversight 
and him as an exception. 


Reason for Dislike.— We become hostile to 
many an artist or writer, not because we notice in 
the end that he has duped us, but because he did 
not find more subtle means necessary to entrap us. 


IN PARTING. — Not by the way one soul ap- 
proaches another, but by the way it separates, do I 
recognise its relationship and homogeneity with the 


SlLENTiUM. — We must not speak about our 
friends, or we renounce the sentiment of friendship. 

Impoliteness. — Impoliteness is often the sign 
of a clumsy modesty, which when taken by surprise 
loses its head and would fain hide the fact by means 
of rudeness. 


Honesty's Miscalculation. — Our newest ac- 
quaintances are sometimes the first to learn what 
we have hitherto kept dark. We have the foolish 
notion that our proof of confidence is the strongest 
fetter wherewith to hold them fast. But they do 
not know enough about us to feel so strongly the 
sacrifice involved in our speaking out, and betray 
our secrets to others without any idea of betrayal. 
Hereby we possibly lose our old friends. 



In the Ante-Chamber of Favour.— All men 
whom we let stand long in the ante-chamber of our 
favour get into a state of fermentation or become 


Warning to the Despised. — When we have 
sunk unmistakably in the estimation of mankind 
we should cling tooth and nail to modesty in inter- 
course, or we shall betray to others that we have 
sunk in our own estimation as well. Cynicism in 
intercourse is a sign that a man, when alone, treats 
himself too as a dog. 


Ignorance often Ennobles. — With regard to 
the respect of those who pay respect, it is an ad- 
vantage ostensibly not to understand certain things. 
Ignorance, too, confers privileges. 


The Opponent of Grace. — The impatient and 
arrogant man does not care for grace, feeling it 
to be a corporeal, visible reproach against himself. 
For grace is heartfelt toleration in movement and 


On Seeing Again. — When old friends see each 
other again after a long separation, it often happens 
that they affect an interest in matters to which they 


have long since become indifferent. Sometimes 
both remark this, but dare not raise the veil — from 
a mournful doubt. Hence arise conversations as 
in the realm of the dead. 


Making Friends only with the Industri- 
ous. — The man of leisure is dangerous to his friends, 
for, having nothing to do, he talks of what his friends 
are doing or not doing, interferes, and finally makes 
himself a nuisance. The clever man will only make 
friends with the industrious. 


One Weapon twice as much as Two. — It is 
an unequal combat when one man defends his 
cause with head and heart, the other with head 
alone. The first has sun and wind against him, as 
it were, and his two weapons interfere with each 
other: he loses the prize — in the eyes of truth. 
True, the victory of the second, with his one 
weapon, is seldom a victory after the hearts of all 
the other spectators, and makes him unpopular. 


Depth and Troubled Waters. — The public 
easily confounds him who fishes in troubled waters 
with him who pumps up from the depths. 


Demonstrating One's Vanity to Friend 
AND Foe. — Many a man, from vanity, maltreats 


even his friends, when in the presence of witnesses 
to whom he wishes to make his own preponderance 
clear. Others exaggerate the merits of their enemies, 
in order to point proudly to the fact that they are 
worthy of such foes. 


Cooling Off. — The over-heating of the heart is 
generally allied with illness of the head and judg- 
ment. He who is concerned for a time with the 
health of his head must know what he has to cool, 
careless of the future of his heart. For if we are 
capable at all of giving warmth, we are sure to 
become warm again and then have our summer. 


Mingled Feelings. — Towards science women 
and self-seeking artists entertain a feeling that is 
composed of envy and sentimentality. 


Where Danger is Greatest. — We seldom 
break our leg so long as life continues a toilsome 
upward climb. The danger comes when we begin 
to take things easily and choose the convenient 


Not TOO Early. — We must beware of becoming 
sharp too early, or we shall also become thin too 


Joy in Refractoriness. — The good teacher 
knows cases where he is proud that his pupil re- 


mains true to himself in opposition to him — at 
times when the youth must not understand the man 
or would be harmed by understanding him. 


The Experiment of Honesty.— Young men, 
who wish to be more honest than they have been, 
seek as victim some one acknowledged to be honest, 
attacking him first with an attempt to reach his 
height by abuse — with the underlying notion that 
this first experiment at any rate is void of danger. 
For just such a one has no right to chastise the 
impudence of the honest man. 


The Eternal Child.— We think, short-sighted 
that we are, that fairy-tales and games belong to 
childhood. As if at any age we should care to live 
without fairy-tales and games ! Our words and 
sentiments are indeed different, but the essential 
fact remains the same, as is proved by the child 
himself looking on games as his work and fairy- 
tales as his truth. The shortness of life ought to 
preserve us from a pedantic distinction between the 
different ages — as if every age brought something 
new — and a poet ought one day to portray a man 
of two hundred, who really lives without fairy-tales 
and games. 


Every Philosophy is the Philosophy of a 
Period of Life. — The period of life in which a 
philosopher finds his teaching is manifested by his 


teaching; he cannot avoid that, however elevated 
above time and hour he may feel himself. Thus, 
Schopenhauer's philosophy remains a mirror of his 
hot and melancholy youth — it is no mode of thought 
for older men. Plato's philosophy reminds one of 
the middle thirties, when a warm and a cold current 
generally rush together, so that spray and delicate 
clouds and, under favourable circumstances and 
glimpses of sunshine, enchanting rainbow-pictures 


Of the Intellect of Women. — The intel- 
lectual strength of a woman is best proved by the 
fact that she offers her own intellect as a sacrifice 
out of love for a man and his intellect, and that 
nevertheless in the new domain, which was previously 
foreign to her nature, a second intellect at once 
arises as an aftergrowth, to which the man's mind 
impels her. 


Raising and Lowering in the Sexual 
DOMAIN. — The storm of desire will sometimes 
carry a man up to a height where all desire is 
silenced, where he really loves and lives in a better 
state of being rather than in a better state of choice. 
On the other hand, a good woman, from true love, 
often climbs down to desire, and lowers herself in 
her own eyes. The latter action in particular is one 
of the most pathetic sensations which the idea of a 
good marriage can involve. 


Man Promises, Woman Fulfils.— -By woman 
Nature shows how far she has hitherto achieved her 
task of fashioning humanity, by man she shows 
what she has had to overcome and what she still 
proposes to do for humanity. — The most perfect 
woman of every age is the holiday-task of the 
Creator on every seventh day of culture, the re- 
creation of the artist from his work. 


Transplanting.— If we have spent our intellect 
in order to gain mastery over the intemperance of 
the passions, the sad result often follows that we 
transfer the intemperance to the intellect, and from 
that time forth are extravagant in thought and desire 
of knowledge. 


Laughter as Treachery. — How and when a 
woman laughs is a sign of her culture, but in the ring 
of laughter her nature reveals itself, and in highly 
cultured women perhaps even the last insoluble 
residue of their nature. Hence the psychologist 
will say with Horace, though from different reasons : 
" Ridete puellae." 


From the Youthful Soul. — Youths varyingly 
show devotion and impudence towards the same 
person, because at bottom they only despise or ad- 
mire themselves in that other person, and between 


the two feelings but stagger to and fro in them- 
selves, so long as they have not found in experience 
the measure of their will and ability. 


For the Amelioration of the World.— If 
we forbade the discontented, the sullen, and the 
atrabilious to propagate, we might transform the 
world into a garden of happiness. — This aphorism 
belongs to a practical philosophy for the female sex. 


Not to Distrust your Emotions. — The 
feminine phrase " Do not distrust your emotions " 
does not mean much more than " Eat what tastes 
good to you." This may also, especially for moder- 
ate natures, be a good everyday rule. But other 
natures must live according to another maxim : 
" You must eat not only with your mouth but also 
with your brain, in order that the greediness of 
your mouth may not prove your undoing." 


A Cruel Fancy of Love. — Every great love 
involves the cruel thought of killing the object of 
love, so that it may be removed once for all from 
the mischievous play of change. For love is more 
afraid of change than of destruction. 

DOORS. — In everything that is learnt or experi- 
enced, the child, just like the man, sees doors ; 


but for the former they are places to go to, for the 
latter to go through. 


Sympathetic Women. — The sympathy of 
women, which is talkative, takes the sick-bed to 


Early Merit. — He who acquires merit early in 
life tends to forget all reverence for age and old 
people, and accordingly, greatly to his disadvantage, 
excludes himself from the society of the mature, 
those who confer maturity. Thus in spite of his 
early merit he remains green, importunate, and 
boyish longer than others. 


Souls All of a Piece. — Women and artists 
think that where we do not contradict them we can- 
not. Reverence on ten counts and silent disap- 
proval on ten others appears to them an impossible 
combination, because their souls are all of a piece. 


YOUNG Talents. — With respect to young talents 
we must strictly follow Goethe's maxim, that we 
should often avoid harming error in order to avoid 
harming truth. Their condition is like the diseases 
of pregnancy, and involves strange appetites. These 
appetites should be satisfied and humoured as far 
as possible, for the sake of the fruit they may be ex- 
pected to produce. It is true that, as nurse of these 


remarkable invalids, one must learn the difficult 
art of voluntary self-abasement. 


Disgust with Truth.— Women are so consti- 
tuted that all truth (in relation to men, love, child- 
ren, society, aim of life) disgusts them — and that 
they try to be revenged on every one who opens 
their eyes. 


The Source of Great Love. — Whence arises 
the sudden passion of a man for a woman, a passion 
so deep, so vital ? Least of all from sensuality only : 
but when a man finds weakness, need of help, and 
high spirits united in the same creature, he suffers 
a sort of overflowing of soul, and is touched and 
offended at the same moment. At this point arises 
the source of great love. 


Cleanliness. — In the child, the sense for clean- 
liness should be fanned into a passion, and then 
later on he will raise himself, in ever new phases, 
to almost every virtue, and will finally appear, in 
compensation for all talent, as a shining cloud of 
purity, temperance, gentleness, and character, happy 
in himself and spreading happiness around. 


Of Vain Old Men. — Profundity of thought 
belongs to youth, clarity of thought to old age. 


When, in spite of this, old men sometimes speak 
and write in the manner of the profound, they do so 
from vanity, imagining that they thereby assume 
the charm of juvenility, enthusiasm, growth, appre- 
hensiveness, hopefulness. 

Enjoyment of Novelty. — Men use a new lesson 
or experience later on as a ploughshare or perhaps 
also as a weapon, women at once make it into an 

How both Sexes behave when in the Right. 
— If it is conceded to a woman that she is right, 
she cannot deny herself the triumph of setting her 
heel on the neck of the vanquished ; she must taste 
her victory to the full. On the other hand, man 
towards man in such a case is ashamed of being 
right. But then man is accustomed to victory ; with 
woman it is an exception. 

Abnegation in the Will to Beauty. — In 
order to become beautiful, a woman must not desire 
to be considered pretty. That is to say, in ninety- 
nine out of a hundred cases where she could please 
she must scorn and put aside all thoughts of pleas- 
ing. Only then can she ever reap the delight of 
him whose soul's portal is wide enough to admit 
the great. 

Unintelligible, Unendurable. — A youth 
cannot understand that an old man has also had 


his delights, his dawns of feeling, his changings and 
soarings of thought. It offends him to think that 
such things have existed before. But it makes him 
very bitter to hear that, to become fruitful, he must 
lose those buds and dispense with their fragrance. 


The Party with the Air of Martyrdom. — 
Every party that can assume an air of martyrdom 
wins good-natured souls over to its side and thereby 
itself acquires an air of good nature — greatly to its 


Assertions surer than Arguments.— -An 
assertion has, with the majority of men at any 
rate, more effect than an argument, for arguments 
provoke mistrust. Hence demagogues seek to 
strengthen the arguments of their party by asser- 


The Best Concealers. — All regularly success- 
ful men are profoundly cunning in making their 
faults and weaknesses look like manifestations of 
strength. This proves that they must know their 
defects uncommonly well. 


From Time to Time. — He sat in the city gate- 
way and said to one who passed through that this 
was the city gate. The latter replied that this was 
true, but that one must not be too much in the 


right if one expected to be thanked for it. " Oh," 
answered the other, " I don't want thanks, but from 
time to time it is very pleasant not merely to be in 
the right but to remain in the right." 


Virtue was not Invented by the Germans. 
— Goethe's nobleness and freedom from envy, Bee- 
thoven's fine hermitical resignation, Mozart's cheer- 
fulness and grace of heart, Handel's unbending 
manliness and freedom under the law, Bach's con- 
fident and luminous inner life, such as does not 
even need to renounce glamour and success — are 
these qualities peculiarly German ? — If they are not, 
they at least prove to what goal Germans should 
strive and to what they can attain. 


Pia Fraus or Something Else. — I hope I am 
mistaken, but I think that in Germany of to-day a V 

twofold sort of hypocrisy is set up as the duty of the 
moment for every one. From imperial-political mis- 
givings Germanism is demanded, and from social 
apprehensions Christianity — but both only in words 
and gestures, and particularly in ability to keep silent. 
It is the veneer that nowadays costs so much and is 
paid for so highly ; and for the benefit of the spec- 
tators the face of the nation assumes German and 
Christian wrinkles. 



be More than the Whole. — In all things that 


are constructed to last and demand the service of 
many hands, much that is less good must be made 
a rule, although the organiser knows what is better 
and harder very well. He will calculate that there 
will never be a lack of persons who can correspond 
to the rule, and he knows that the middling good is 
the rule. — The youth seldom sees this point, and as 
an innovator thinks how marvellously he is in the 
right and how strange is the blindness of others. 


The PARTISAN. — The true partisan learns no- 
thing more, he only experiences and judges. It is 
significant that Solon, who was never a partisan but 
pursued his aims above and apart from parties or 
even against them, was the father of that simple 
phrase wherein lies the secret of the health and 
vitality of Athens : " I grow old, but I am always 


What is German according to Goethe.— 
They are really intolerable people of whom one 
cannot even accept the good, who have freedom of 
disposition but do not remark that they are lacking 
in freedom of taste and spirit. Yet just this, accord- 
ing to Goethe's well-weighed judgment, is German. — 
His voice and his example indicate that the German 
should be more than a German if he wishes to be 
useful or even endurable to other nations — and 
which direction his striving should take, in order 
that he may rise above and beyond himself. 


When it is Necessary to Remain Station- 
ary. — When the masses begin to rage, and reason 
is under a cloud, it is a good thing, if the health of 
one's soul is not quite assured, to go under a door- 
way and look out to see what the weather is like. 

The Revolution-Spirit and the Posses- 
sion-Spirit.— The only remedy against Socialism 
that still lies in your power is to avoid provoking 
Socialism — in other words, to live in moderation and 
contentment, to prevent as far as possible all lavish 
display, and to aid the State as far as possible in its 
taxing of all superfluities and luxuries. You do not 
like this remedy ? Then, you rich bourgeois who 
call yourselves "Liberals," confess that it is your own 
inclination that you find so terrible and menacing 
in Socialists, but allow to prevail in yourselves as 
unavoidable, as if with you it were something 
different. As you are constituted, if you had not 
your fortune and the cares of maintaining it, this 
bent of yours would make Socialists of you. Pos- 
session alone differentiates you from them. If you 
wish to conquer the assailants of your prosperity, 
you must first conquer yourselves. — And if that 
prosperity only meant well-being, it would not be 
so external and provocative of envy ; it would be 
more generous, more benevolent, more compensatory, 
more helpful. But the spurious, histrionic element in 
your pleasures, which lie more in the feeling of con- 
trast (because others have them not, and feel envious) 
VOL. 11. K 


than in feelings of realised and heightened power — 
your houses, dresses, carriages, shops, the demands 
of your palates and your tables, your noisy operatic 
and musical enthusiasm ; lastly your women, formed 
and fashioned but of base metal, gilded but with- 
out the ring of gold, chosen by you for show and 
considering themselves meant for show — these are 
the things that spread the poison of that national 
disease, which seizes the masses ever more and more 
as a Socialistic heart-itch, but has its origin and 
breeding-place in you. Who shall now arrest this 
epidemic ? 


PARTY Tactics. — When a party observes that a 
previous member has changed from an unqualified 
to a qualified adherent, it endures it so ill that 
it irritates and mortifies him in every possible way 
with the object of forcing him to a decisive break 
and making him an opponent. For the party sus- 
pects that the intention of finding a relative value 
in its faith, a value which admits of pro and con, of 
weighing and discarding, is more dangerous than 
downright opposition. 


For the Strengthening of Parties. — Who- 
ever wishes to strengthen a party internally should 
give it an opportunity of being forcibly treated 
with obvious injustice. The party thus acquires a 
capital of good conscience, which hitherto it perhaps 


To Provide for One's Past. — As men after 
all only respect the old-established and slowly- 
developed, he who would survive after his death 
must not only provide for posterity but still more 
for the past. Hence tyrants of every sort (including 
tyrannical artists and politicians) like to do violence 
to history, so that history may seem a preparation 
and a ladder up to them. 


Party Writers. — The beating of drums, which 
delights young writers who serve a party, sounds 
to him who does not belong to the party like a 
rattling of chains, and excites sympathy rather than 


Taking Sides against Ourselves. — Our 
followers never forgive us for taking sides against 
ourselves, for we seem in their eyes not only to be 
spurning their love but to be exposing them to the 
charge of lack of intelligence. 


Danger in Wealth. — Only a man of intellect 
should hold property : otherwise property is danger- 
ous to the community. For the owner, not knowing 
how to make use of the leisure which his possessions 
might secure to him, will continue to strive after 
more property. This strife will be his occupation, 
his strategy in the war with ennui. So in the end 


real wealth is produced from the moderate property 
that would be enough for an intellectual man. Such 
wealth, then, is the glittering outcrop of intellectual 
dependence and poverty, but it looks quite different 
from what its humble origin might lead one to expect, 
because it can mask itself with culture and art — it 
can, in fact, purchase the mask. Hence it excites 
envy in the poor and uncultured — who at bottom 
always envy culture and see no mask in the mask — 
and gradually paves the way for a social revolution. 
For a gilded coarseness and a histrionic blowing of 
trumpets in the pretended enjoyment of culture 
inspires that class with the thought, "It is only a 
matter of money," whereas it is indeed to some ex- 
tent a matter of money, but far more of intellect. 

Joy in Commanding and Obeying. — Com- 
manding is a joy, like obeying ; the former when it 
has not yet become a habit, the latter just when it 
has become a habit. Old servants under new 
masters advance each other mutually in giving 


Ambition for a Forlorn Hope. — There is an 
ambition for a forlorn hope which forces a party to 
place itself at the post of extreme danger. 

When Asses are Needed. — We shall not move 
the crowd to cry " Hosanna ! " until we have ridden 
into the city upon an ass. 


Party Usage. — Every party attempts to repre- 
sent the important elements that have sprung up 
outside it as unimportant, and if it does not succeed, 
it attacks those elements the more bitterly, the more 
excellent they are. 


Becoming Empty. — Of him who abandons him- 
self to the course of events, a smaller and smaller 
residue is continually left, Great politicians may 
therefore become quite empty men, although they 
were once full and rich. 


Welcome Enemies. — The Socialistic move- 
ments are nowadays becoming more and more 
agreeable rather than terrifying to the dynastic 
governments, because by these movements they are 
provided with a right and a weapon for making ex- 
ceptional rules, and can thus attack their real bogies, 
democrats and anti-dynasts. — Towards all that such 
governments professedly detest they feel a secret 
cordiality and inclination. But they are compelled 
to draw the veil over their soul. 


Possession Possesses.— Only up to a certain 
point does possession make men feel freer and more 
independent ; one step farther, and possession be- 
comes lord, the possessor a slave. The latter must 


sacrifice his time, his thoughts to the former, and 
feels himself compelled to an intercourse, nailed to 
a spot, incorporated with the State — perhaps quite 
in conflict with his real and essential needs. 


Of the Mastery of Them that Know. — It 
is easy, ridiculously easy, to set up a model for the 
choice of a legislative body. First of all the honest 
and reliable men of the nation, who at the same 
time are masters and experts in some one branch, 
have to become prominent by mutual scenting-out 
and recognition. From these, by a narrower process 
of selection, the learned and expert of the first rank 
in each individual branch must again be chosen, also 
by mutual recognition and guarantee. If the legis- 
lative body be composed of these, it will finally be 
necessary, in each individual case, that only the 
voices and judgments of the most specialised ex- 
perts should decide; the honesty of all the rest 
should have become so great that it is simply a 
matter of decency to leave the voting also in the 
hands of these men. The result would be that 
the law, in the strictest sense, would emanate from 
the intelligence of the most intelligent. — As things 
now are, voting is done by parties, and at every 
division there must be hundreds of uneasy con- 
sciences among the ill-taught, the incapable of judg- 
ment, among those who merely repeat, imitate, and 
go with the tide. Nothing lowers the dignity of 
a new law so much as this inherent shamefaced 
feeling of insincerity that necessarily results at every 


party division. But, as has been said, it is easy, 
ridiculously easy, to set up such a model : no power 
on earth is at present strong enough to realise such 
an ideal — unless the belief in the highest utility of 
knowledge, and of those that know, at last dawns 
even upon the most hostile minds and is preferred 
to the prevalent belief in majorities. In the sense 
of such a future may our watchword be : " More 
reverence for them that know, and down with all 
parties ! " 


Of the " Nation of Thinkers " (or of Bad 
Thinking). — The vague, vacillating, premonitory, 
elementary, intuitive elements — to choose obscure 
names for obscure things — that are attributed to the 
German nature would be, if they really still existed, 
a proof that our culture has remained several stages 
behind and is still surrounded by the spell and 
atmosphere of the Middle Ages. — It is true that in 
this backwardness there are certain advantages : by 
these qualities the Germans (if, as has been said 
before, they still possess them) would possess the 
capacity, which other nations have now lost, for 
doing certain things and particularly for under- 
standing certain things. Much undoubtedly is lost 
if the lack of sense — which is just the common 
factor in all those qualities — is lost. Here too, how- 
ever, there are no losses without the highest com- 
pensatory gains, so that no reason is left for 
lamenting, granting that we do not, like children, 
and gourmands, wish to enjoy at once the fruits of 
all seasons of the year. 



Carrying Coals to Newcastle. — The govern- 
ments of the great States have two instruments for 
keeping the people dependent,in fear and obedience: 
a coarser, the army, and a more refined, the school. 
With the aid of the former they win over to their 
side the ambition of the higher strata and the 
strength of the lower, so far as both are character- 
istic of active and energetic men of moderate or 
inferior gifts. With the aid of the latter they win 
over gifted poverty, especially the intellectually pre- 
tentious semi-poverty of the middle classes. Above 
all, they make teachers of all grades into an intel- 
lectual court looking unconsciously "towards the 
heights." By putting obstacle after obstacle in the 
way of private schools and the wholly distasteful 
individual tuition they secure the disposal of a 
considerable number of educational posts, towards 
which numerous hungry and submissive eyes are 
turned to an extent five times as great as can ever 
be satisfied. These posts, however, must support 
the holder but meagrely, so that he maintains a 
feverish thirst for promotion and becomes still more 
closely attached to the views of the government. 
For it is always more advantageous to foster 
moderate discontent than contentment, the mother 
of courage, the grandmother of free thought and 
exuberance. By means of this physically and 
mentally bridled body of teachers, the youth of the 
country is as far as possible raised to a certain level 
of culture that is useful to the State and arranged 
on a suitable sliding-scale. Above all, the immature 


and ambitious minds of all classes are almost imper- 
ceptibly imbued with the idea that only a career 
which is recognised and hall-marked by the State 
can lead immediately to social distinction. The 
effect of this belief in government examinations and 
titles goes so far that even men who have remained 
independent and have risen by trade or handicraft 
still feel a pang of discontent in their hearts until 
their position too is marked and acknowledged by a 
gracious bestowal of rank and orders from above — 
until one becomes a " somebody." Finally the State 
connects all these hundreds of offices and posts in its 
hands with the obligation of being trained and hall- 
marked in these State schools if one ever wishes to 
enter this charmed circle. Honour in society, daily 
bread, the possibility of a family, protection from 
above, the feeling of community in a common 
culture — all this forms a network of hopes into 
which every young man walks : how should he feel 
the slightest breath of mistrust ? In the end, per- 
haps, the obligation of being a soldier for one year 
has become with every one, after the lapse of a few 
generations, an unreflecting habit, an understood 
thing, with an eye to which we construct the plan 
of our lives quite early. Then the State can venture 
on the master-stroke of weaving together school 
and army, talent, ambition and strength by means 
of common advantages — that is, by attracting the 
more highly gifted on favourable terms to the army 
and inspiring them with the military spirit of joyful 
obedience; so that finally, perhaps, they become 
attached permanently to the flag and endow it by 
their talents with an ever new and more brilliant 



lustre. Then nothing more is wanted but an oppor- 
tunity for great wars. These are provided from 
professional reasons (and so in all innocence) by 
diplomats, aided by newspapers and Stock Ex- 
changes. For" the nation," as a nation of soldiers, 
need never be supplied with a good conscience in 
war — it has one already. 


The Press. — If we consider how even to-day all 
great political transactions glide upon the stage 
secretly and stealthily ; how they are hidden by 
unimportant events, and seem small when close at 
hand ; how they only show their far-reaching effect, 
and leave the soil still quaking, long after they have 
taken place; — what significance can we attach to 
the Press in its present position, with its daily ex- 
penditure of lung-power in order to bawl, to deafen, 
to excite, to terrify? Is it anything more than an 
everlasting false alarm, which tries to lead our ears 
and our wits into a false direction ? 


After a Great Event. — A nation and a man 
whose soul has come to light through some great 
event generally feel the immediate need of some 
act of childishness or coarseness, as much from 
shame as for purposes of recreation. 

To be a Good German means to de-Ger- 
MANISE^ONESELF. — National differences consist, 


far more than has hitherto been observed, only in 
the differences of various grades of culture, and are 
only to a very small extent permanent (nor even 
that in a strict sense). For this reason all arguments 
based on national character are so little binding on 
one who aims at the alteration of convictions — in 
other words, at culture. If, for instance, we consider 
all that has already been German, we shall improve 
upon the hypothetical question, "What is German ? " 
by the counter-question, " What is now German ? " 
and every good German will answer it practically, 
by overcoming his German characteristics. For 
when a nation advances and grows, it bursts the 
girdle previously given to it by its national outlook. 
When it remains stationary or declines, its soul is 
surrounded by a fresh girdle, and the crust, as it 
becomes harder and harder, builds a prison around, 
with walls growing ever higher. Hence if a nation 
has much that is firmly established, this is a sign 
that it wishes to petrify and would like to become 
nothing but a monument. This happened, from a 
definite date, in the case of Egypt. So he who is 
well-disposed towards the Germans may for his part 
consider how he may more and more grow out of 
what is German. The tendency to be un-German 
has therefore always been a mark of efficient mem- 
bers of our nation. 


Foreignisms. — A foreigner who travelled in Ger- 
many found favour or the reverse by certain asser- 
tions of his, according to the districts in which he 
stayed. All intelligent Suabians, he used to say, 


are coquettish. — The other Suabians still believed 
that Uhland was a poet and Goethe immoral. — The 
best about German novels now in vogue was that 
one need not read them, for one knew already what 
they contained. — The native of Berlin seemed more 
good-humoured than the South German, for he was 
all too fond of mocking, and so could endure 
mockery himself, which the South German could 
not. — The intellect of the Germans was kept down 
by their beer and their newspapers : he recom- 
mended them tea and pamphlets, of course as a 
cure. — He advised us to contemplate the different 
nations of worn-out Europe and see how well each 
displayed some particular quality of old age, to the 
delight of those who sit before the great spectacle : 
how the French successfully represent the clever- 
ness and amiability of old age, the English the 
experience and reserve, the Italians the innocence 
and candour. Can the other masks of old age be 
wanting ? Where is the proud old man, the dom- 
ineering old man, the covetous old man ? — The 
most dangerous region in Germany was Saxony and 
Thuringia : nowhere else was there more mental 
nimbleness, more knowledge of men, side by side 
with freedom of thought; and all this was so 
modestly veiled by the ugly dialect and the zealous 
officiousness of the inhabitants that one hardly 
noticed that one here had to deal with the intel- 
lectual drill-sergeants of Germany, her teachers for 
good or evil. — The arrogance of the North Germans 
was kept in check by their tendency to obey, that 
of the South Germans by their tendency — to make 
themselves comfortable. — It appeared to him that 


in their women German men possessed awkward 
but self-opinionated housewives, who belauded 
themselves so perseveringly that they had almost 
persuaded the world, and at any rate their husbands, 
of their peculiarly German housewifely virtue. — 
When the conversation turned on Germany's home 
and foreign policy, he used to say (he called it 
" betray the secret ") that Germany's greatest states- 
man did not believe in great statesmen. — The future 
of Germany he found menaced and menacing, for 
Germans had forgotten how to enjoy themselves (an 
art that the Italians understood so well), but, by the 
great games of chance called wars and dynastic 
revolutions, had accustomed themselves to emotion- 
alism, and consequently would one day have an 
tmeute. For that is the strongest emotion that a 
nation can procure for itself. — The German Socialist 
was all the more dangerous because impelled by 
no definite necessity : his trouble lay in not knowing 
what he wanted ; so, even if he attained many of 
his objects, he would still pine away from desire 
in the midst of delights, just like Faust, but pre- 
sumably like a very vulgar Faust. " For the Faust- 
Devil," he finally exclaimed, " by whom cultured 
Germans were so much plagued, was exorcised by 
Bismarck ; but now the Devil has entered into the 
swine * and is worse than ever ! " 

Opinions. — Most men are nothing and count 
for nothing until they have arrayed themselves in 

* Luke viii. 33. — Tr. 


universal convictions and public opinions. This is 
in accordance with the tailors' philosophy, " The 
apparel makes the man." Of exceptional men, 
however, it must be said, " The wearer primarily 
makes the apparel." Here opinions cease to be 
public, and become something else than masks, 
ornament, and disguise. 


Two Kinds of Sobriety.— In order not to con- 
found the sobriety arising from mental exhaustion 
with that arising from moderation, one must remark 
that the former is peevish, the latter cheerful. 


Debasement of Joy. — To call a thing good not 
a day longer than it appears to us good, and above 
all not a day earlier — that is the only way to keep 
joy pure. Otherwise, joy all too easily becomes in- 
sipid and rotten to the taste, and counts, for whole 
strata of the people, among the adulterated food- 


The Scapegoat of Virtue. — When a man 
does his very best, those who mean well towards 
him, but are not capable of appreciating him, 
speedily seek a scapegoat to immolate, thinking it 
is the scapegoat of sin — but it is the scapegoat of 


Sovereignty. — 1?o honour and acknowledge 
even the bad, when it pleases one, and to have no 


conception of how one could be ashamed of being 
pleased thereat, is the mark of sovereignty in things 
great and small. 


Influence a Phantom, not a Reality — 
The man of mark gradually learns that so far as 
he has influence he is a phantom in other brains, 
and perhaps he falls into a state of subtle vexation 
of soul, in which he asks himself whether he must 
not maintain this phantom of himself for the benefit 
of his fellow-men. 


Giving and Taking.— When one takes away 
(or anticipates) the smallest thing that another 
possesses, the latter is blind to the fact that he has 
been given something greater, nay, even the greatest 


Good Ploughland. — All rejection and negation 
betoken a deficiency in fertility. If we were good 
ploughland, we should allow nothing to be unused 
or lost, and in every thing, event, or person we 
should welcome manure, rain, or sunshine. 

Intercourse as an Enjoyment.— If a man 
renounces the world and intentionally lives in soli- 
tude, he may come to regard intercourse with 
others, which he enjoys but seldom, as a special 



To Know how to Suffer in Public. — We 
must advertise our misfortunes and from time to 
time heave audible sighs and show visible marks 
of impatience. For if we could let others see how 
assured and happy we are in spite of pain and 
privation, how envious and ill-tempered they would 
become at the sight ! — But we must take care not 
to corrupt our fellow-men; besides, if they knew 
the truth, they would levy a heavy toll upon us. 
At any rate our public misfortune is our private 

Warmth on the Heights. — On the heights 
it is warmer than people in the valleys suppose, 
especially in winter. The thinker recognises the full 
import of this simile. 


To Will the Good and be Capable of the 
Beautiful. — It is not enough to practise the good 
one must have willed it, and, as the poet says, in- 
clude the Godhead in our will. But the beautiful 
we must not will, we must be capable of it, in inno- 
cence and blindness, without any psychical curiosity. 
He that lights his lantern to find perfect men 
should remember the token by which to know 
them. They are the men who always act for the 
sake of the good and in so doing always attain 
to the beautiful without thinking of the beautiful. 
Many better and nobler men, from impotence or 
from want of beauty in their souls, remain unre- 


freshing and ugly to behold, with all their good 
will and good works. They rebuff and injure even 
virtue through the repulsive garb in which their 
bad taste arrays her. 

Danger of Renunciation. — We must beware 
of basing our lives on too narrow a foundation of 
appetite. For if we renounce all the joys involved 
in positions, honours, associations, revels, creature 
comforts, and arts, a day may come when we per- 
ceive that this repudiation has led us not to wisdom 
but to satiety of life. 

Final Opinion on Opinions. — Either we 
should hide our opinions or hide ourselves behind 
our opinions. Whoever does otherwise, does not 
know the way of the world, or belongs to the order 
of pious fire-eaters. 

" Gaudeamus Igitur" — Joy must contain edi- 
fying and healing forces for the moral nature of 
man. Otherwise, how comes it that our soul, as 
soon as it basks in the sunshine of joy, uncon- 
sciously vows to itself, " I will be good ! " " I will 
become perfect ! " and is at once seized by a pre- 
monition of perfection that is like a shudder of re- 
ligious awe ? 

To One who is Praised. — So long as you are 
praised, believe that you are not yet on your own 
course but on that of another. 




Loving the Master. — The apprentice and the 
master love the master in different ways. 


All-too-Beautiful and Human.— "Nature 
is too beautiful for thee, poor mortal," one often 
feels. But now and then, at a profound contem- 
plation of all that is human, in its fulness, vigour, 
tenderness, and complexity, I have felt as if I must 
say, in all humility, " Man also is too beautiful for 
the contemplation of man ! " Nor did I mean the 
moral man alone, but every one. 

Real and' Personal Estate. — When life has 
treated us in true robber fashion, and has taken 
away all that it could of honour, joys, connections, 
health, and property of every kind, we perhaps dis- 
cover in the end, after the first shock, that we are 
richer than before. For now we know for the first 
time what is so peculiarly ours that no robber hand 
can touch it, and perhaps, after all the plunder and 
devastation, we come forward with the airs of a 
mighty real estate owner. 


Involuntarily Idealised. — The most painful 

feeling that exists is finding out that we are always 

taken for something higher than we really are. For 

we must thereby confess to ourselves, " There is in 


you some element of fraud — your speech, your ex- 
pression, your bearing, your eye, your dealings ; 
and this deceitful something is as necessary as your 
usual honesty, but constantly destroys its effect and 
its value. 

Idealist and Liar. — We must not let ourselves 
be tyrannised even by that finest faculty of idealising 
things : otherwise, truth will one day part company 
from us with the insulting remark : " Thou arch-liar, 
what have I to do with thee ? " 


Being Misunderstood. — When one is mis- 
understood generally, it is impossible to remove a 
particular misunderstanding. This point must be 
recognised, to save superfluous expenditure of energy 
in self-defence. 


The Water-Drinker Speaks. — Go on drink- 
ing your wine, which has refreshed you all your life 
— what affair is it of yours if I have to be a water- 
drinker? Are not wine and water peaceable, 
brotherly elements, that can live side by side with- 
out mutual recriminations? 


From Cannibal Country. — In solitude the 
lonely man is eaten up by himself, among crowds 
by the many. Choose which you prefer. 



The Freezing-Point of the Will. — " Some 
time the hour will come at last, the hour that will 
envelop you in the golden cloud of painlessness ; 
when the soul enjoys its own weariness and, happy 
in patient playing with patience, resembles the waves 
of a lake, which on a quiet summer day, in the re- 
flection of a many-hued evening sky, sip and sip at 
the shore and again are hushed — without end, with- 
out purpose, without satiety, without need — all calm 
rejoicing in change, all ebb and flow of Nature's 
pulse." Such is the feeling and talk of all invalids, 
but if they attain that hour, a brief period of enjoy- 
ment is followed by ennui. But this is the thawing- 
wind of the frozen will, which awakes, stirs, and once 
more begets desire upon desire. — Desire is a sign of 
convalescence or recovery. 

The Disclaimed Ideal. — It happens some- 
times by an exception that a man only reaches the 
highest when he disclaims his ideal. For this ideal 
previously drove him onward too violently, so that 
in the middle of the track he regularly got out of 
breath and had to rest. 

A Treacherous Inclination. — It should be 
regarded as a sign of an envious but aspiring man, 
when he feels himself attracted by the thought that 
with regard to the eminent there is but one salvation 
— love. 


Staircase Happiness. — Just as the wit of many 
men does not keep pace with opportunity (so that 
opportunity has already passed through the door 
while wit still waits on the staircase outside), so 
others have a kind of staircase happiness, which 
walks too slowly to keep pace with swift-footed 
Time. The best that it can enjoy of an experience, 
of a whole span of life, falls to its share long after- 
wards, often only as a weak, spicy fragrance, giving 
rise to longing and sadness — as if " it might have 
been possible " — some time or other — to drink one's 
fill of this element : but now it is too late. 

Worms. — The fact that an intellect contains a 
few worms does not detract from its ripeness. 


The Seat of Victory. — A good seat on horse- 
back robs an opponent of his courage, the spectator 
of his heart — why attack such a man ? Sit like one 
who has been victorious ! 


Danger in Admiration. — From excessive ad- 
miration for the virtues of others one can lose the 
sense of one's own, and finally, through lack of prac- 
tice, lose these virtues themselves, without retaining 
the alien virtues as compensation. 


Uses of Sickliness. — He who is often ill not 
only has a far greater pleasure in health, on account 
of his so often getting well, but acquires a very keen 
sense of what is healthy or sickly in actions and 
achievements, both his own and others'. Thus, for 
example, it is just the writers of uncertain health — 
among whom, unfortunately, nearly all great writers 
must be classed — who are wont to have a far more 
even and assured tone of health in their writings, 
because they are better versed than are the physi- 
cally robust in the philosophy of psychical health 
and convalescence and in their teachers — morning, 
sunshine, forest, and fountain. 

Disloyalty a Condition of Mastery. — It 
cannot be helped — every master has but one pupil, 
and he becomes disloyal to him, for he also is des- 
tined for mastery. 


Never IN Vain. — In the mountains of truth you 
never climb in vain. Either you already reach a 
higher point to-day, or you exercise your strength 
in order to be able to climb higher to-morrow. 

Through Grey Window-Panes. — Is what you 
see through this window of the world so beautiful 
that you do not wish to look through any other 


window — ay, and even try to prevent others from 
so doing ? 

A Sign of Radical Changes. — When we 
dream of persons long forgotten or dead, it is a 
sign that we have suffered radical changes, and 
that the soil on which we live has been completely 
undermined. The dead rise again, and our antiquity 
becomes modernity. 


Medicine of the Soul. — To lie still and think 
little is the cheapest medicine for all diseases of 
the soul, and, with the aid of good-will, becomes 
pleasanter every hour that it is used. 


Intellectual Order of Precedence. — You 
rank far below others when you try to establish the 
exception and they the rule. 

The Fatalist. — You must believe in fate — 
science can compel you thereto. All that develops 
in you out of that belief — cowardice, devotion or 
loftiness, and uprightness — bears witness to the soil 
in which the grain was sown, but not to the grain 
itself, for from that seed anything and everything 
can grow. 

The Reason for Much Fretfulness. — He 
that prefers the beautiful to the useful in life will 


undoubtedly, like children who prefer sweetmeats 
to bread, destroy his digestion and acquire a very 
fretful outlook on the world. 


Excess as a Remedy. — We can make our own 
talent once more acceptable to ourselves by hon- 
ouring and enjoying the opposite talent for some 
time to excess. — Using excess as a remedy is one 
of the more refined devices in the art of life. 


" Will a Self." — Active, successful natures act, 
not according to the maxim, " Know thyself," but 
as if always confronted with the command, " Will 
a self, so you will become a self." — Fate seems 
always to have left them a choice. Inactive, con- 
templative natures, on the other hand, reflect on 
how they have chosen their self " once for all " at 
their entry into life. 


To Live as Far as Possible without a 
Following. — How small is the importance of 
followers we first grasp when we have ceased to be 
the followers of our followers. 


Obscuring Oneself. — We must understand 
how to obscure ourselves in order to get rid of the 
gnat-swarms of pestering admirers. 



Ennui. — There is an ennui of the most subtle 
and cultured brains, to which the best that the 
world can offer has become stale. Accustomed to 
eat ever more and more recherche fare and to feel 
disgust at coarser diet, they are in danger of dying 
of hunger. For the very best exists but in small 
quantities, and has sometimes become inaccessible 
or hard as stone, so that even good teeth can no 
longer bite it. 


The Danger in Admiration. — The admira- 
tion of a quality or of an art may be so strong as to 
deter us from aspiring to possess that quality or art. 


What is Required of Art. — One man wants 
to enjoy himself by means of art, another for a time 
to get out of or #bove himself. — To meet both re- 
quirements there exists a twofold species of artists. 


Secessions. — Whoever secedes from us offends 
not us, perhaps, but certainly our adherents. 


After Death. — It is only long after the death 

of a man that we find it inconceivable that he should 

be missed — in the case of really great men, only after 

decades. Those who are honest usually think when 


any one dies that he is not much missed, and that 
the pompous funeral oration is a piece of hypocrisy. 
Necessity first teaches the necessariness of an in- 
dividual, and the proper epitaph is a belated sigh. 


Leaving in Hades. — We must leave many 
things in the Hades of half-conscious feeling, and 
not try to release them from their shadow-existence, 
or else they will become, as thoughts and words, our 
demoniacal tyrants, with cruel lust after our blood. 


Near to Beggary. — Even the richest intellect 
sometimes mislays the key to the room in which his 
hoarded treasures repose. He is then like the poorest 
of the poor, who must beg to get a living. 


Chain-Thinkers.— To him who has thought a 
great deal, every new thought that he hears or reads 
at once assumes the form of a chain. 

Pity. — In the gilded sheath of pity is sometimes 
hidden the dagger of envy. 


What is Genius ? — To aspire to a lofty aim and 
to will the means to that aim. 


Vanity of Combatants. — He who has no hope 
of victory in a combat, or who is obviously worsted, 
is all the more desirous that his style of fighting 
should be admired. 


The Philosophic Life Misinterpreted. — At 
the moment when one is beginning to take philo- 
sophy seriously, the whole world fancies that one is 
doing the reverse. 


Imitation. — By imitation, the bad gains, the 
good loses credit — especially in art. 


Final Teaching of History.—" Oh that I had 
but lived in those times ! " is the exclamation of 
foolish and frivolous men. At every period of 
history that we seriously review, even if it be the 
most belauded era of the past, we shall rather cry 
out at the end, " Anything but a return to that ! 
The spirit of that age would oppress you with the 
weight of a hundred atmospheres, the good and 
beautiful in it you would not enjoy, its evil you 
could not digest." Depend upon it, posterity will 
pass the same verdict on our own epoch, and say 
that it was unbearable, that life under such condi- 
tions was intolerable. "And yet every one can 
endure his own times ? " Yes, because the spirit of 


his age not only lies upon him but is in him. The 
spirit of the age offers resistance to itself and can 
bear itself. 


Greatness as a Mask. — By greatness in our 
comportment we embitter our foes ; by envy that we 
do not conceal we almost reconcile them to us. For 
envy levels and makes equal ; it is an unconscious, 
plaintive variety of modesty. — It may be indeed that 
here and there, for the sake of the above-named 
advantage, envy has been assumed as a mask by 
those who are not envious. Certainly, however, 
greatness in comportment is often used as the mask 
of envy by ambitious men who would rather suffer 
drawbacks and embitter their foes than let it be seen 
that they place them on an equal footing with them- 


Unpardonable. — You gave him an opportunity 
of displaying the greatness of his character, and he 
did not make use of the opportunity. He will never 
forgive you for that. 


Contrasts. — The most senile thought ever con- 
ceived about men lies in the famous saying, " The 
ego is always hateful," the most childish in the still 
more famous saying, " Love thy neighbour as thy- 
self." — With the one knowledge of men has ceased, 
with the other it has not yet begun. 


A Defective Ear. — " We still belong to the 
mob so long as we always shift the blame on to 
others; we are on the track of wisdom when we 
always make ourselves alone responsible; but the 
wise man finds no one to blame, neither himself nor 
others." — Who said that ? Epictetus, eighteen hun- 
dred years ago. — The world has heard but forgotten 
the saying. — No, the world has not heard and not 
forgotten it: everything is not forgotten. But we 
had not the necessary ear, the ear of Epictetus. — 
So he whispered it into his own ear ? — Even so : wis- 
dom is the whispering of the sage to himself in the 
crowded market-place. 

A Defect of Standpoint, not of Vision — 
We always stand a few paces too near ourselves 
and a few paces too far from our neighbour. Hence 
we judge him too much in the lump, and ourselves 
too much by individual, occasional, insignificant 
features and circumstances. 


Ignorance about Weapons. — How little we 
care whether another knows a subject or not ! — 
whereas he perhaps sweats blood at the bare idea 
that he may be considered ignorant on the point. 
Yes, there are exquisite fools, who always go about 
with a quiverful of mighty, excommunicatory utter- 
ances, ready to shoot down any one who shows 
freely that there are matters in which their judg- 
ment is not taken into acccount. 



At the Drinking-Table of Experience.— 
People whose innate moderation leads them to 
drink but the half of every glass, will not admit 
that everything in the world has its lees and sedi- 


Singing-Birds.— The followers of a great man 
often put their own eyes out, so that they may be 
the better able to sing his praise. 

Beyond our Ken.— The good generally dis- 
pleases us when it is beyond our ken. 

Rule as Mother or as Child.— There is one 
condition that gives birth to rules, another to which 
rules give birth. 

Comedy. — We sometimes earn honour or love 
for actions and achievements which we have long 
since sloughed as the snake sloughs his skin. We 
are hereby easily seduced into becoming the comic 
actors of our own past, and into throwing the old 
skin once more about our shoulders — and that not 
merely from vanity, but from good-will towards our 

A Mistake of Biographers. — The small force 
that is required to launch a boat into the stream 


must not be confounded with the force of the 
stream that carries the boat along. Yet this mis- 
take is made in nearly all biographies. 

Not Buying too Dear. — The things that we 
buy too dear we generally turn to bad use, because 
we have no love for them but only a painful recol- 
lection. Thus they involve a twofold drawback. 

The Philosophy that Society always 
Needs. — The pillars of the social structure rest 
upon the fundamental fact that every one cheer- 
fully contemplates all that he is, does, and attempts, 
his sickness or health, his poverty or affluence, his 
honour or insignificance, and says to himself, 
"After all, I would not change places with any 
one ! " — Whoever wishes to add a stone to the 
social structure should always try to implant in 
mankind this cheerful philosophy of contentment 
and refusal to change places. 


The Mark of a Noble Soul. — A noble soul 

is not that which is capable of the highest flights, 

but that which rises little and falls little, living 

always in a free and bright atmosphere and altitude 

Greatness and its Contemplator. — The 
noblest effect of greatness is that it gives the con- 


templator a power of vision that magnifies and em- 

Being Satisfied. — We show that we have 
attained maturity of understanding when we no 
longer go where rare flowers lurk under the thorniest 
hedges of knowledge, but are satisfied with gardens, 
forests, meadows, and ploughlands, remembering 
that life is too short for the rare and uncommon. 


Advantage in Privation. — He who always 
lives in the warmth and fulness of the heart, and, 
as it were, in the summer air of the soul, cannot form 
an idea of that fearful delight which seizes more 
wintry natures, who for once in a way are kissed 
by the rays of love and the milder breath of a 
sunny February day. 


Recipe for the Sufferer. — You find the 
burden of life too heavy ? Then you must increase 
the burden of your life. When the sufferer finally 
thirsts after and seeks the river of Lethe, then he 
must become a hero to be certain of finding it. 


The Judge. — He who has seen another's ideal 
becomes his inexorable judge, and as it were his 
evil conscience. 


The Utility of Great Renunciation.— The 
useful thing about great renunciation is that it in- 


vests us with that youthful pride through which we 
can thenceforth easily demand of ourselves small 


How Duty Acquires a Glamour.— You can 
change a brazen duty into gold in the eyes of all 
by always performing something more than you 
have promised. 


Prayer to Mankind. — "Forgive us our virtues" 
' — so should we pray to mankind. 


They that Create and They that Enjoy. 
— Every one who enjoys thinks that the principal 
thing to the tree is the fruit, but in point of fact 
the principal thing to it is the seed. — Herein lies 
the difference between them that create and them 
that enjoy. 


The Glory of all Great Men.— What is the 
use of genius if it does not invest him who contem- 
plates and reveres it with such freedom and lofti- 
ness of feeling that he no longer has need of genius ? 
— To make themselves superfluous is the glory of 
all great men. 


The Journey to Hades. — I too have been in 
the underworld, even as Odysseus, and I shall often 
be there again. Not sheep alone have I sacrificed, 
vol. 11. M 


that I might be able to converse with a few dead 
souls, but not even my own blood have I spared. 
There were four pairs who responded to me in my 
sacrifice : Epicurus and Montaigne, Goethe and 
Spinoza, Plato and Rousseau, Pascal and Schopen- 
hauer. With them I have to come to terms. When 
I have long wandered alone, I will let them prove 
me right or wrong ; to them will I listen, if they 
prove each other right or wrong. In all that I say, 
conclude, or think out for myself and others, I 
fasten my eyes on those eight and see their eyes 
fastened on mine. — May the living forgive me if I 
look upon them at times as shadows, so pale and 
fretful, so restless and, alas ! so eager for life. Those 
eight, on the other hand, seem to me so living that 
I feel as if even now, after their death, they could 
never become weary of life. But eternal vigour of 
life is the important point : what matters " eternal 
life," or indeed life at all ? 



The Shadow. It is so long since I heard you 
speak that I should like to give you an opportunity 
of talking. 

The Wanderer : I hear a voice — where ? whose ? 
I almost fancied that 1 heard myself speaking, but 
with a voice yet weaker than my own. 

The Shadow (after a pause) : Are you not glad 
to have an opportunity of speaking ? 

The Wanderer : By God and everything else in 
which 1 disbelieve, it is my shadow that speaks. I 
hear it, but I do not believe it. 

The Shadow : Let us assume that it exists, and 
think no more about it. In another hour all will be 

The Wanderer: That is just what I thought 
when in a forest near Pisa I saw first two and then 
five camels. 

The Shadow. It is all the better if we are both 
equally forbearing towards each other when for once 
our reason is silent. Thus we shall avoid losing our 
tempers in conversation, and shall not at once apply 
mutual thumb-screws in the event of any word 
sounding for once unintelligible to us. If one does 
not know exactly how to answer, it is enough to 


say something. Those are the reasonable terms on 
which I hold conversation with any person. During 
a long talk the wisest of men becomes a fool once 
and a simpleton thrice. 

The Wanderer-. Your moderation is not flatter- 
ing to those to whom you confess it. 

The Shadow. Am I, then, to flatter? 

The Wanderer-. I thought a man's shadow was 
his vanity. Surely vanity would never say, " Am 
I, then, to flatter ? " 

The Shadow : Nor does human vanity, so far as 
I am acquainted with it, ask, as I have done twice, 
whether it may speak. It simply speaks. 

The Wanderer: Now I see for the first time how 
rude I am to you, my beloved shadow. I have not 
said a word of my supreme delight in hearing and 
not merely seeing you. You must know that I love 
shadows even as I love light. For the existence of 
beauty of face, clearness of speech, kindliness and 
firmness of character, the shadow is as necessary 
as the light. They are not opponents — rather do 
they hold each other's hands like good friends ; and 
when the light vanishes, the shadow glides after it 

The Shadow: Yes, and I hate the same thing 
that you hate — night. I love men because they are 
votaries of life. I rejoice in the gleam of their eyes 
when they recognise and discover, they who never 
weary of recognising and discovering. That 
shadow which all things cast when the sunshine 
of knowledge falls upon them — that shadow too 
am I. 

The Wanderer: I think I understand you, al- 
though you have expressed yourself in somewhat 


shadowy terms. You are right. Good friends give 
to each other here and there, as a sign of mutual 
understanding, an obscure phrase which to any third 
party is meant to be a riddle. And we are good 
friends, you and I. So enough of preambles! Some 
few hundred questions oppress my soul, and the time 
for you to answer them is perchance but short. Let 
us see how we may come to an understanding as 
quickly and peaceably as possible. 

The Shadow. But shadows are more shy than 
men. You will not reveal to any man the manner 
of our conversation ? 

The Wanderer : The manner of our conversation ? 
Heaven preserve me from wire-drawn, literary dia- 
logues ! If Plato had found less pleasure in spin- 
ning them out, his readers would have found more 
pleasure in Plato. A dialogue that in real life is 
a source of delight, when turned into writing and 
read, is a picture with nothing but false perspectives. 
Everything is too long or too short. — Yet perhaps 
I may reveal the points on which we have come to 
an understanding ? 

The Shadow. With that I am content. For 
every one will only recognise your views once more, 
and no one will think of the shadow. 

The Wanderer-. Perhaps you are wrong, my 
friend ! Hitherto they have observed in my views 
more of the shadow than of me. 

The Shadow : More of the shadow than of the 
light ? Is that possible ? 

The Wanderer : Be serious, dear fool ! My very 
first question demands seriousness. 



Of the Tree of Knowledge. — Probability, 
but no truth ; the semblance of freedom, but no free- 
dom — these are the two fruits by virtue of which the 
tree of knowledge cannot be confounded with the 
tree of life. 

The World's Reason.— That the world is not 
the abstract essence of an eternal reasonableness is 
sufficiently proved by the fact that that bit of the 
world which we know — I mean our human reason — 
is none too reasonable. And if this is not eternally 
and wholly wise and reasonable, the rest of the world 
will not be so either. Here the conclusion a minori 
ad majus, a parte ad totum holds good, and that 
with decisive force. 

"In the Beginning was." — To glorify the 
origin — that is the metaphysical after-shoot which 
sprouts again at the contemplation of history, and 
absolutely makes us imagine that in the beginning of 
things lies all that is most valuable and essential. 

Standard for the Value of Truth.— The 
difficulty of climbing mountains is no gauge of their 
height. Yet in the case of science it is different ! — 
we are told by certain persons who wish to be con- 
sidered "the initiated," — the difficulty in finding 


truth is to determine the value of truth ! This in- 
sane morality originates in the idea that " truths " are 
really nothing more than gymnastic appliances, with 
which we have to exercise ourselves until we are 
thoroughly tired. It is a morality for the athletes 
and gymnasts of the intellect. 


Use of Words and Reality. — There exists 
a simulated contempt for all the things that man- 
kind actually holds most important, for all everyday 
matters. For instance, we say "we only eat to live" 
— an abominable lie, like that which speaks of the 
procreation of children as the real purpose of all 
sexual pleasure. Conversely, the reverence for " the 
most important things " is hardly ever quite genuine. 
The priests and metaphysicians have indeed accus- 
tomed us to a hypocritically exaggerated use of 
words regarding these matters, but they have not 
altered the feeling that these most important things 
are not so important as those despised " everyday 
matters." A fatal consequence of this twofold hypo- 
crisy is that we never make these everyday matters 
(such as eating, housing, clothes, and intercourse) 
the object of a constant unprejudiced and universal 
reflection and revision, but, as such a process appears 
degrading, we divert from them our serious intel- 
lectual and artistic side. Hence in such matters 
habit and frivolity win an easy victory over the 
thoughtless, especially over inexperienced youth. 
On theother hand, our continual transgressions of the 
simplest laws of body and mind reduce us all, young 


and old, to a disgraceful state of dependence and 
servitude — I mean to that fundamentally super- 
fluous dependence upon physicians, teachers and 
clergymen, whose dead-weight still lies heavy upon 
the whole of society. 


Earthly Infirmities and their Main Cause. 
— If we look about us, we are always coming across 
■men who have eaten eggs all their lives without ob- 
serving that the oblong-shaped taste the best; whodo 
not know that a thunder-storm is beneficial to the 
stomach ; that perfumes are most fragrant in cold, 
clear air ; that our sense of taste varies in different 
parts of our mouths ; that every meal at which we 
talk well or listen well does harm to the digestion. 
If we are not satisfied with these examples of de- 
fective powers of observation, we shall concede all 
the more readily that the everyday matters are 
very imperfectly seen and rarely observed by the 
majority. Is this a matter of indifference ? — Let us 
remember, after all, that from this defect are derived 
nearly all the bodily and spiritual infirmities of the 
individual. Ignorance of what is good and bad for 
us, in the arrangement of our mode of life, the division 
of our day, the selection of our friends and the time 
we devote to them, in business and leisure, com- 
manding and obeying, our feeling for nature and for 
art, our eating, sleeping, and meditation ; ignorance 
and lack of keen perceptions in the smallest and most 
ordinary details — this it is that makes the world " a 
vale of tears " for so many. Let us not say that here 


as everywhere the fault lies with human unreason. 
Of reason there is enough and to spare, but it is 
wrongly directed and artificially diverted from these 
little intimate things. Priests and teachers, and the 
sublime ambition of all idealists, coarser and subtler, 
din it even into the child's ears that the means of 
serving mankind at large depend upon altogether 
different things — upon the salvation of the soul, the 
service of the State, the advancement of science, or 
even upon social position and property ; whereas the 
needs of the individual, his requirements great and 
small during the twenty-four hours of the day, are 
quite paltry or indifferent. — Even Socrates attacked 
with all his might this arrogant neglect of the human 
for the benefit of humanity, and loved to indicate by 
a quotation from Homer the true sphere and con- 
ception of all anxiety and reflection: " All that really 
matters," he said, " is the good and evil hap I find 
at home." 

Two Means of Consolation. — Epicurus, the 
soul-comforter of later antiquity, said, with that mar- 
vellous insight which to this very day is so rarely to 
be found, that for the calming of the spirit the solu- 
tion of the final and ultimate theoretical problems is 
by no means necessary. Hence, instead of raising a 
barren and remote discussion of the final question, 
whether the Gods existed, it sufficed him to say to 
those who were tormented by " fear of the Gods " : 
" If there are Gods, they do not concern themselves 
with us." The latter position is far stronger and 


more favourable, for, by conceding a few points to the 
other, one makes him readier to listen and to take 
to heart. But as soon as he sets about proving the 
opposite (that the Gods do concern themselves with 
us), into what thorny jungles of error must the poor 
man fall, quite of his own accord, and without any 
cunning on the part of his interlocutor ! The latter 
must only have enough subtlety and humanity to 
conceal his sympathy with this tragedy. Finally, the 
other comes to feel disgust — the strongest argument 
against any proposition — disgust with his own hypo- 
thesis. He becomes cold, and goes away in the same 
frame of mind as the pure atheist who says, " What 
do the Gods matter to me ? The devil take them ! " — 
In other cases, especially when a half-physical, half- 
moral assumption had cast a gloom over his spirit, 
Epicurus did not refute the assumption. He agreed 
that it might be true, but that there was a second 
assumption to explain the same phenomenon, and 
that it could perhaps be maintained in other ways. 
The plurality of hypotheses (for example, that con- 
cerning the origin of conscientious scruples) suffices 
even in our time to remove from the soul the shadows 
that arise so easily from pondering over a hypothesis 
which is isolated, merely visible, and hence overvalued 
a hundredfold. — Thus whoever wishes to console the 
unfortunate, the criminal, the hypochondriac, the 
dying, may call to mind the two soothing suggestions 
of Epicurus, which can be applied to a great number 
of problems. In their simplest form they would run : 
firstly, granted the thing is so, it does not concern 
us ; secondly, the thing may be so, but it may also 
be otherwise. 


In the Night. — So soon as night begins to fall 
our sensations concerning everyday matters are 
altered. There is the wind, prowling as if on for- 
bidden paths, whispering as if in search of some- 
thing, fretting because he cannot find it. There is 
the lamplight, with its dim red glow, its weary look, 
unwillingly fighting against night, a sullen slave to 
wakeful man. There are the breathings of the sleeper, 
with their terrible rhythm, to which an ever-recur- 
ring care seems to blow the trumpet-melody — we do 
not hear it, but when the sleeper's bosom heaves we 
feel our heart-strings tighten ; and when the breath 
sinks and almost dies away into a deathly stillness, 
we say to ourselves, " Rest awhile, poor troubled 
spirit ! " All living creatures bear so great a burden 
that we wish them an eternal rest ; night invites to 
death. — If human beings were deprived of the sun 
and resisted night by means of moonlight and oil- 
lamps, what a philosophy would cast its veil over 
them ! We already see only too plainly how a 
shadow is thrown over the spiritual and intellectual 
nature of man by that moiety of darkness and sun- 
lessness that envelops life. 


Origin of the Doctrine of Free Will. — 
Necessity sways one man in the shape of his pas- 
sions, another as a habit of hearing and obeying, a 
third as a logical conscience, a fourth as a caprice 
and a mischievous delight in evasions. These four, 


however, seek the freedom of their will at the very 
point where they are most securely fettered. It is 
as if the silkworm sought freedom of will in spinning. 
What is the reason ? Clearly this, that every one 
thinks himself most free where his vitality is strong- 
est ; hence, as I have said, now in passion, now in 
duty, now in knowledge, now in caprice. A man un- 
consciously imagines that where he is strong, where 
he feels most thoroughly alive, the element of his 
freedom must lie. He thinks of dependence and 
apathy, independence and vivacity as forming in- 
evitable pairs. — Thus an experience that a man 
has undergone in the social and political sphere is 
wrongly transferred to the ultimate metaphysical 
sphere. There the strong man is also the free man, 
there the vivid feeling of joy and sorrow, the high 
hopes, the keen desires, the powerful hates are the 
attributes of the ruling, independent natures, while 
the thrall and the slave live in a state of dazed 
oppression. — The doctrine of free will is an invention 
of the ruling classes. 


Absence of Feeling of New Chains. — So 
long as we do not feel that we are in some way de- 
pendent, we consider ourselves independent — a false 
conclusion that shows how proud man is, how eager 
for dominion. For he hereby assumes that he would 
always be sure to observe and recognise dependence 
so soon as he suffered it, the preliminary hypothesis 
being that he generally lives in independence, and 
that, should he lose that independence for once in a 
way, he would immediately detect a contrary sensa- 


tion. — Suppose, however, the reverse to be true — 
that he is always living in a complex state of depend- 
ence, but thinks himself free where, through long 
habit, he no longer feels the weight of the chain ? 
He only suffers from new chains, and " free will " 
really means nothing more than an absence of feel- 
ing of new chains. 


Freedom of the Will and the Isolation of 
Facts. — Our ordinary inaccurate observation takes 
a group of phenomena as one and calls them a fact. 
Between this fact and another we imagine a vacuum, 
we isolate each fact. In reality, however, the sum 
of our actions and cognitions is no series of facts 
and intervening vacua, but a continuous stream. 
Now the belief in free will is incompatible with the 
idea of a continuous, uniform, undivided, indivisible 
flow. This belief presupposes that every single 
action is isolated and indivisible; it is an atomic 
theory as regards volition and cognition. — We mis- 
understand facts as we misunderstand characters, 
speaking of similar characters and similar facts, 
whereas both are non-existent. Further, we bestow 
praise and blame only on this false hypothesis, that 
there are similar facts, that a graduated order of 
species of facts exists, corresponding to a graduated 
order of values. Thus we isolate not only the single 
fact, but the groups of apparently equal facts (good, 
evil, compassionate, envious actions, and so forth). 
In both cases we are wrong. — The word and the 
concept are the most obvious reason for our belief 
in this isolation of groups of actions. We do not 


merely thereby designate the things ; the thought at 
the back of our minds is that by the word and the 
concept we can grasp the essence of the actions. 
We are still constantly led astray by words and 
actions, and are induced to think of things as simpler 
than they are, as separate, indivisible, existing in 
the absolute. Language contains a hidden philo- 
sophical mythology, which, however careful we may 
be, breaks out afresh at every moment. The belief 
in free will — that is to say, in similar facts and iso- 
lated facts — finds in language its continual apostle 
and advocate. 


The Fundamental Errors. — A man cannot 
feel any psychical pleasure or pain unless he is 
swayed by one of two illusions. Either he believes 
in the identity of certain facts, certain sensations, 
and in that case finds spiritual pleasure and pain 
in comparing present with past conditions and in 
noting their similarity or difference (as is invariably 
the case with recollection) ; or he believes in the 
freedom of the will, perhaps when he reflects, " I 
ought not to have done this," "This might have 
turned out differently," and from these reflections 
likewise he derives pleasure and pain. Without 
the errors that are rife in every psychical pain and 
pleasure, humanity would never have developed. 
For the root idea of humanity is that man is free in a 
world of bondage — man, the eternal wonder-worker, 
whether his deeds be good or evil — man, the amaz- 
ing exception, the super-beast, the quasi-God, the 
mind of creation, the indispensable, the key-word 


to the cosmic riddle, the mighty lord of nature and 
despiser of nature, the creature that calls its history 
" the history of the world " ! Vanitas vanitatum 

Repetition. — It is an excellent thing to express 
a thing consecutively in two ways, and thus provide 
it with a right and a left foot. Truth can stand 
indeed on one leg, but with two she will walk and 
complete her journey. 

Man as the Comic Actor of the World. — 
It would require beings more intellectual than men 
to relish to the full the humorous side of man's view 
of himself as the goal of all existence and of his 
serious pronouncement that he is satisfied only with 
the prospect of fulfilling a world -mission. If a God 
created the world, he created man to be his ape, as 
a perpetual source of amusement in the midst of his 
rather tedious eternities. The music of the spheres 
surrounding the world would then presumably be 
the mocking laughter of all the other creatures 
around mankind. God in his boredom uses pain 
for the tickling of his favourite animal, in order to 
enjoy his proudly tragic gestures and expressions 
of suffering, and, in general, the intellectual inven- 
tiveness of the vainest of his creatures — as inventor 
of this inventor. For he who invented man as a 
joke had more intellect and more joy in intellect 
than has man. — Even here, where our human nature 
is willing to humble itself, our vanity again plays us 
a trick, in that we men should like in this vanity at 



least to be quite marvellous and incomparable. Our 
uniqueness in the world ! Oh, what an improbable 
thing it is ! Astronomers, who occasionally acquire 
a horizon outside our world, give us to understand 
that the drop of life on the earth is without signific- 
ance for the total character of the mighty ocean of 
birth and decay ; that countless stars present con- 
ditions for the generation of life similar to those of 
the earth — and yet these are but a handful in com- 
parison with the endless number that have never 
known, or have long been cured, of the eruption of 
life; that life on each of these stars, measured by 
the period of its existence, has been but an instant, 
a flicker, with long, long intervals afterwards — and 
thus in no way the aim and final purpose of their 
existence. Possibly the ant in the forest is quite 
as firmly convinced that it is the aim and purpose 
of the existence of the forest, as we are convinced 
in our imaginations (almost unconsciously) that the 
destruction of mankind involves the destruction of 
the world. It is even modesty on our part to go 
no farther than this, and not to arrange a universal 
twilight of the world and the Gods as the funeral 
ceremony of the last man. Even to the eye of 
the most unbiassed astronomer a lifeless world can 
scarcely appear otherwise than as a shining and 
swinging star wherein man lies buried. 

The Modesty of Man.— How little pleasure is 
enough for the majority to make them feel that life 
is good ! How modest is man ! 


1 6. 

Where Indifference is Necessary.— No- 
thing would be more perverse than to wait for 
the truths that science will finally establish con- 
cerning the first and last things, and until then to 
think (and especially to believe) in the traditional 
way, as one is so often advised to do. The impulse 
that bids us seek nothing but certainties in this 
domain is a religious offshoot, nothing better — a 
hidden and only apparently sceptical variety of the 
" metaphysical need," the underlying idea being 
that for a long time no view of these ultimate 
certainties will be obtainable, and that until then 
the " believer " has the right not to trouble himself 
about the whole subject. We have no need of 
these certainties about the farthermost horizons in 
order to live a full and efficient human life, any 
more than the ant needs them in order to be a good 
ant. Rather must we ascertain the origin of that 
troublesome significance that we have attached to 
these things for so long. For this we require the 
history of ethical and religious sentiments, since it 
is only under the influence of such sentiments that 
these most acute problems of knowledge have be- 
come so weighty and terrifying. Into the outer- 
most regions to which the mental eye can penetrate 
(without ever penetrating into them), we have 
smuggled such concepts as guilt and punishment 
(everlasting punishment, too !). The darker those 
regions, the more careless we have been. For ages 
men have let their imaginations run riot where they 


could establish nothing, and have induced posterity 
to accept these fantasies as something serious and 
true, with this abominable lie as their final trump- 
card : that faith is worth more than knowledge. 
What we need now in regard to these ultimate things 
is not knowledge as against faith, but indifference 
as against faith and pretended knowledge in these 
matters ! — Everything must lie nearer to us than 
what has hitherto been preached to us as the most 
important thing, I mean the questions : " What end 
does man serve ? " " What is his fate after death ? " 
" How does he make his peace with God ? " and all 
the rest of that bag of tricks. The problems of the 
dogmatic philosophers, be they idealists, materialists, 
or realists, concern us as little as do these religious 
questions. They all have the same object in view 
— to force us to a decision in matters where neither 
faith nor knowledge is needed. It is better even 
for the most ardent lover of knowledge that the 
territory open to investigation and to reason should 
be encircled by a belt of fog-laden, treacherous 
marshland, a strip of ever watery, impenetrable, and 
indeterminable country. It is just by the com- 
parison with the realm of darkness on the edge of 
the world of knowledge that the bright, accessible 
region of that world rises in value. — We must once 
more become good friends of the "everyday matters," 
and not, as hitherto, despise them and look beyond 
them at clouds and monsters of the night. In forests 
and caverns, in marshy tracts and under dull skies, 
on the lowest rungs of the ladder of culture, man 
has lived for aeons, and lived in poverty. There 
he has learnt to despise the present, his neighbours, 


his life, and himself, and we, the inhabitants of the 
brighter fields of Nature and mind, still inherit in 
our blood some taint of this contempt for everyday 


Profound Interpretations. — He who has in- 
terpreted a passage in an author " more profoundly " 
than was intended, has not interpreted the author 
but has obscured him. Our metaphysicians are in 
the same relation, or even in a worse relation, to the 
text of Nature. For, to apply their profound in- 
terpretations, they often alter the text to suit their 
purpose — or, in other words, corrupt the text. A 
curious example of the corruption and obscuration 
of an author's text is furnished by the ideas of 
Schopenhauer on the pregnancy of women. " The 
sign of a continuous will to life in time," he says, 
" is copulation ; the sign of the light of knowledge 
which is associated anew with this will and holds 
the possibility of a deliverance, and that too in the 
highest degree of clearness, is the renewed incar- 
nation of the will to life. This incarnation is be- 
tokened by pregnancy, which is therefore frank and 
open, and even proud, whereas copulation hides itself 
like a criminal." He declares that every woman, if 
surprised in the sexual act, would be likely to die 
of shame, but "displays her pregnancy without a 
trace of shame, nay even with a sort of pride." Now, 
firstly, this condition cannot easily be displayed 
more aggressively than it displays itself, and when 


Schopenhauer gives prominence only to the inten- 
tional character of the display, he is fashioning his 
text to suit the interpretation. Moreover, his state- 
ment of the universality of the phenomenon is not 
true. He speaks of "every woman." Many women, 
especially the younger, often appear painfully 
ashamed of their condition, even in the presence of 
their nearest kinsfolk. And when women of riper 
years, especially in the humbler classes, do actually 
appear proud of their condition, it is because they 
would give us to understand that they are still 
desirable to their husbands. That a neighbour on 
seeing them or a passing stranger should say or 
think " Can it be possible ? " — that is an alms always 
acceptable to the vanity of women of low mental 
capacity. In the reverse instance, to conclude from 
Schopenhauer's proposition, the cleverest and most 
intelligent women would tend more than any to 
exult openly in their condition. For they have the 
best prospect of giving birth to an intellectual 
prodigy, in whom " the will " can once more 
"negative" itself for the universal good. Stupid 
women, on the other hand, would have every reason 
to hide their pregnancy more modestly than any- 
thing they hide. — It cannot be said that this view 
corresponds to reality. Granted, however, that 
Schopenhauer was right on the general principle 
that women show more self-satisfaction when preg- 
nant than at any other time, a better explanation 
than this lies to hand. One might imagine the 
clucking of a hen even before she lays an egg, say- 
ing, " Look ! look ! I shall lay an egg ! I shall lay 
an egg ! M 

1 8. 

The Modern Diogenes. — Before we look for 
man, we must have found the lantern. — Will it have 
to be the Cynic's lantern ? 


IMMORALISTS. — Moralists must now put up with 
being rated as immoralists, because they dissect 
morals. He, however, who would dissect must kill, 
but only in order that we may know more, judge 
better, live better, not in order that all the world 
may dissect. Unfortunately, men still think that 
every moralist in his every action must be a pattern 
for others to imitate. They confound him with the 
preacher of morality. The older moralists did not 
dissect enough and preached too often, whence that 
confusion and the unpleasant consequences for our 
latter-day moralists are derived. 


A Caution against Confusion.— There are 
moralists who treat the strong, noble, self-denying 
attitude of such beings as the heroes of Plutarch, 
or the pure, enlightened, warmth-giving state of soul 
peculiar to truly good men and women, as difficult 
scientific problems. They investigate the origin of 
such phenomena, indicating the complex element 
in the apparent simplicity, and directing their gaze 
to the tangled skein of motives, the delicate web of 
conceptual illusions, and the sentiments of indi- 
viduals or of groups, that are a legacy of ancient 


days gradually increased. Such moralists are very 
different from those with whom they are most 
commonly confounded, from those petty minds that 
do not believe at all in these modes of thought and 
states of soul, and imagine their own poverty to be 
hidden somewhere behind the glamour of greatness 
and purity. The moralists say, " Here are problems," 
and these pitiable creatures say, " Here are impostors 
and deceptions." Thus the latter deny the existence 
of the very things which the former are at pains to 


Man as the Measurer.— Perhaps all human 
morality had its origin in the tremendous excite- 
ment that seized primitive man when he discovered 
measure and measuring, scales and weighing (for 
the word Mensch [man] means " the measurer " — he 
wished to name himself after his greatest discovery!). 
With these ideas they mounted into regions that 
are quite beyond all measuring and weighing, but 
did not appear to be so in the beginning. 


The Principle of Equilibrium. — The robber 
and the man of power who promises to protect a 
community from robbers are perhaps at bottom 
beings of the same mould, save that the latter 
attains his ends by other means than the former — 
that is to say, through regular imposts paid to him 
by the community, and no longer through forced 
contributions. (The same relation exists between 


merchant and pirate, who for a long period are one 
and the same person : where the one function ap- 
pears to them inadvisable, they exercise the other. 
Even to-day mercantile morality is really nothing 
but a refinement on piratical morality — buying in 
the cheapest market, at prime cost if possible, and 
selling in the dearest.) The essential point is that 
the man of power promises to maintain the equili- 
brium against the robber, and herein the weak find 
a possibility of living. For either they must group 
themselves into an equivalent power, or they must 
subject themselves to some one of equivalent power 
{i.e. render service in return for his efforts). The 
latter course is generally preferred, because it really 
keeps two dangerous beings in check — the robber 
through the man of power, and the man of power 
through the standpoint of advantage ; for the latter 
profits by treating his subjects with graciousness 
and tolerance, in order that they may support not 
only themselves but their ruler. As a matter of 
fact, conditions may still be hard and cruel enough, 
yet in comparison with the complete annihilation 
that was formerly always a possibility, men breathe 
freely. — The community is at first the organisa- 
tion of the weak to counterbalance menacing forces. 
An organisation to outweigh those forces would be 
more advisable, if its members grew strong enough 
to destroy the adverse power: and when it is a 
question of one mighty oppressor, the attempt will 
certainly be made. But if the one man is the head 
of a clan, or if he has a large following, a rapid and 
decisive annihilation is improbable, and a long or 
permanent feud is only to be expected. This feud, 


however, involves the least desirable condition for 
the community, for it thereby loses the time to pro- 
vide for its means of subsistence with the necessary 
regularity, and sees the product of all work hourly 
threatened. Hence the community prefers to raise 
its power of attack and defence to the exact plane 
on which the power of its dangerous neighbour 
stands, and to give him to understand that an equal 
weight now lies in its own side of the scales — so 
why not be good friends ? — Thus equilibrium is a 
most important conception for the understanding 
of the ancient doctrines of law and morals. Equili- 
brium is, in fact, the basis of justice. When justice 
in ruder ages says, "An eye for an eye, a tooth 
for a tooth," it presupposes the attainment of this 
equilibrium and tries to maintain it by means of 
this compensation ; so that, when crime is com- 
mitted, the injured party will not take the revenge 
of blind anger. By means of the jus talionis the 
equilibrium of the disturbed relations of power is 
restored, for in such primitive times an eye or an 
arm more means a bit more power, more weight. 
— In a community where all consider themselves 
equal, disgrace and punishment await crime — that 
is, violations of the principle of equilibrium. Dis- 
grace is thrown into the scale as a counter-weight 
against the encroaching individual, who has gained 
profit by his encroachment, and now suffers losses 
(through disgrace) which annul and outweigh the 
previous profits. Punishment, in the same way, 
sets up a far greater counter- weight against the pre- 
ponderance which every criminal hopes to obtain — 
imprisonment as against a deed of violence, restitu- 


tion and fines as against theft. Thus the sinner is 
reminded that his action has excluded him from the 
community and from its moral advantages, since 
the community treats him as an inferior, a weaker 
brother, an outsider. For this reason punishment 
is not merely retaliation, but has something more, 
something of the cruelty of the state of nature, and 
of this it would serve as a reminder. 

Whether the Adherents of the Doctrine 
of Free Will have a Right to Punish ? — Men 
whose vocation it is to judge and punish try to 
establish in every case whether an evil-doer is really 
responsible for his act, whether he was able to apply 
his reasoning powers, whether he acted with motives 
and not unconsciously or under constraint. If he is 
punished, it is because he preferred the worse to the 
better motives, which he must consequently have 
known. Where this knowledge is wanting, man is, 
according to the prevailing view, not responsible — 
unless his ignorance, e.g. his ignorantia legis, be the 
consequence of an intentional neglect to learn what 
he ought: in that case he already preferred the 
worse to the better motives at the time when he 
refused to learn, and must now pay the penalty of 
his unwise choice. If, on the other hand, perhaps 
through stupidity or shortsightedness, he has never 
seen the better motives, he is generally not pun- 
ished, for people say that he made a wrong choice, 
he acted like a brute beast. The intentional rejec- 
tion of the better reason is now needed before we 


treat the offender as fit to be punished. But how can 
any one be intentionally more unreasonable than he 
ought to be ? Whence comes the decision, if the 
scales are loaded with good and bad motives ? So 
the origin is not error or blindness, not an internal 
or external constraint? (It should furthermore be 
remembered that every so-called "external con- 
straint " is nothing more than the internal constraint 
of fear and pain.) Whence ? is the repeated question. 
So reason is not to be the cause of action, because 
reason cannot decide against the better motives? 
Thus we call " free will " to our aid. Absolute 
discretion is to decide, and a moment is to intervene 
when no motive exercises an influence, when the 
deed is done as a miracle, resulting from nothing. 
This assumed discretion is punished in a case 
where no discretion should rule. Reason, which 
knows law, prohibition, and command, should have 
left no choice, they say, and should have acted 
as a constraint and a higher power. Hence the 
offender is punished because he makes use of " free 
will " — in other words, has acted without motive 
where he should have been guided by motives. 
But why did he do it ? This question must not even 
be asked ; the deed was done without a " Why ? " 
without motive, without origin, being a thing pur- 
poseless, unreasoned. — However, according to the 
above-named preliminary condition of punishability, 
such a deed should not be punished at all ! More- 
over, even this reason for punishing should not 
hold good, that in this case something had not been 
done, had been omitted, that reason had not been 
used at all : for at any rate the omission was unin- 


tentional,and only intentional omission is considered 
punishable. The offender has indeed preferred the 
worse to the better motives, but without motive and 
purpose : he has indeed failed to apply his reason, 
but not exactly with the object of not applying it. 
The very assumption made in the case of punish- 
able crime, that the criminal intentionally renounced 
his reason, is removed by the hypothesis of " free 
will." According to your own principles, you must 
not punish, you adherents of the doctrine of free 
will ! — These principles are, however, nothing but a 
very marvellous conceptual mythology, and the hen 
that hatched them has brooded on her eggs far away 
from all reality. 

Judging the Criminal and his Judge. — The 
criminal, who knows the whole concatenation of 
circumstances, does not consider his act so far 
beyond the bounds of order and comprehension 
as does his judge. His punishment, however, is 
measured by the degree of astonishment that seizes 
the judge when he finds the crime incomprehensible. 
— If the defending counsel's knowledge of the case 
and its previous history extends far enough, the 
so-called extenuating circumstances which he duly 
pleads must end by absolving his client from all 
guilt. Or, to put it more plainly, the advocate 
will, step by step, tone down and finally remove 
the astonishment of the judge, by forcing every 
honest listener to the tacit avowal, " He was bound 
to act as he did, and if we punished, we should 
be punishing eternal Necessity." — Measuring the 


punishment by the degree of knowledge we possess 
or can obtain of the previous history of the crime — - 
is that not in conflict with all equity ? 


Exchange and Equity. — In an exchange, the 
only just and honest course would be for either 
party to demand only so much as he considers his 
commodity to be worth, allowance being made for 
trouble in acquisition, scarcity, time spent and so 
forth, besides the subjective value. As soon as 
you make your price bear a relation to the other's 
need, you become a refined sort of robber and ex- 
tortioner. — If money is the sole medium of ex- 
change, we must remember that a shilling is by 
no means the same thing in the hands of a rich 
heir, a farm labourer, a merchant, and a university 
student. It would be equitable for every one to 
receive much or little for his money, according as 
he has done much or little to earn it. In practice, 
as we all know, the reverse is the case. In the 
world of high finance the shilling of the idle rich 
man can buy more than that of the poor, industrious 


Legal Conditions as Means. — Law, where it 
rests upon contracts between equals, holds good 
so long as the power of the parties to the contract 
remains equal or similar. Wisdom created law 
to end all feuds and useless expenditure among 
men on an equal footing. Quite as definite an end 
is put to this waste, however, when one party has 


become decidedly weaker than the other. Subjec- 
tion enters and law ceases, but the result is the 
same as that attained by law. For now it is the 
wisdom of the superior which advises to spare the 
inferior and not uselessly to squander his strength. 
Thus the position of the inferior is often more fav- 
ourable than that of the equal. — Hence legal con- 
ditions are temporary means counselled by wisdom, 
and not ends. 


Explanation of Malicious Joy.— Malicious 
joy arises when a man consciously finds himself 
in evil plight and feels anxiety or remorse or pain. 
The misfortune that overtakes B. makes him equal 
to A., and A. is reconciled and no longer envious. 
— If A. is prosperous, he still hoards up in his 
memory B.'s misfortune as a capital, so as to throw 
it in the scale as a counter-weight when he him- 
self suffers adversity. In this case too he feels 
" malicious joy " {Schadenfreude). The sentiment 
of equality thus applies its standard to the domain 
of luck and chance. Malicious joy is the commonest 
expression of victory and restoration of equality, 
even in a higher state of civilisation. This emotion 
has only been in existence since the time when 
man learnt to look upon another as his equal — in 
other words, since the foundation of society. 


The Arbitrary Element in the Award of 
Punishment. — To most criminals punishment 


comes just as illegitimate children come to women. 
They have done the same thing a hundred times 
without any bad consequences. Suddenly comes 
discovery, and with discovery punishment. Yet 
habit should make the deed for which the 
criminal is punished appear more excusable, for he 
has developed a propensity that is hard to resist. 
Instead of this, the criminal is punished more 
severely if the suspicion of habitual crime rests on 
him, and habit is made a valid reason against all 
extenuation. On the other hand, a model life, 
wherein crime shows up in more terrible contrast, 
should make the guilt appear more heavy ! But 
here the custom is to soften the punishment. 
Everything is measured not from the standpoint 
of the criminal but from that of society and its 
losses and dangers. The previous utility of an 
individual is weighed against his one nefarious 
action, his previous criminality is added to that 
recently discovered, and punishment is thus meted 
out as highly as possible. But if we thus punish or 
reward a man's past (for in the former case the 
diminution of punishment is a reward) we ought 
to go farther back and punish and reward the 
cause of his past — I mean parents, teachers, society. 
In many instances we shall then find the judges 
somehow or other sharing in the guilt. It is ar- 
bitrary to stop at the criminal himself when we 
punish his past : if we will not grant the absolute 
excusability of every crime, we should stop at each 
individual case and probe no farther into the past 
— in other words, isolate guilt and not connect it 
with previous actions. Otherwise we sin against 


logic. The teachers of free will should draw the 
inevitable conclusion from their doctrine of " free 
will " and boldly decree : " No action has a past." 


Envy and her Nobler Sister. — Where 
equality is really recognised and permanently es- 
tablished, we see the rise of that propensity that is 
generally considered immoral, and would scarcely 
be conceivable in a state of nature — envy. The 
envious man is susceptible to every sign of in- 
dividual superiority to the common herd, and 
wishes to depress every one once more to the level 
— or raise himself to the superior plane. Hence 
arise two different modes of action, which Hesiod 
designated good and bad Eris. In the same way, ' 
in a condition of equality there arises indignation 
if A. is prosperous above and B. unfortunate beneath 
their deserts and equality. These latter, however, 
are emotions of nobler natures. They feel the 
want of justice and equity in things that are in- 
dependent of the arbitrary choice of men — or, in 
other words, they desire the equality recognised by 
man to be recognised as well by Nature and 
chance. They are angry that men of equal merits 
should not have equal fortune. 


The Envy of the Gods.—" The envy of the 
Gods" arises when a despised person sets himself 
on an equality with his superior (like Ajax), or is 
made equal with him by the favour of fortune 



(like Niobe, the too favoured mother). In the 
social class system this envy demands that no one 
shall have merits above his station, that his pros- 
perity shall be on a level with his position, and 
especially that his self-consciousness shall not out- 
grow the limits of his rank. Often the victorious 
general, or the pupil who achieves a masterpiece, 
has experienced " the envy of the gods." 


Vanity as an Anti-Social Aftergrowth. — 
As men, for the sake of security, have made them- 
selves equal in order to found communities, but 
as also this conception is imposed by a sort of 
constraint and is entirely opposed to the instincts 
of the individual, so, the more universal security is 
guaranteed, the more do new offshoots of the old 
instinct for predominance appear. Such offshoots 
appear in the setting-up of class distinctions, in the 
demand for professional dignities and privileges, 
and, generally speaking, in vanity (manners, dress, 
speech, and so forth). So soon as danger to the 
community is apparent, the majority, who were 
unable to assert their preponderance in a time of 
universal peace, once more bring about the condi- 
tion of equality, and for the time being the absurd 
privileges and vanities disappear. If the community, 
however, collapses utterly and anarchy reigns su- 
preme, there arises the state of nature : an ab- 
solutely ruthless inequality as recounted by Thucy- 
dides in the case of Corcyra. Neither a natural 
justice nor a natural injustice exists. 



Equity. — Equity is a development of justice, 
and arises among such as do not come into conflict 
with the communal equality. This more subtle 
recognition of the principle of equilibrium is ap- 
plied to cases where nothing is prescribed by law. 
Equity looks forwards and backwards, its maxim 
being, "Do unto others as you would that they 
should do unto you." Aequum means : " This 
principle is conformable to our equality ; it tones 
down even our small differences to an appearance 
of equality, and expects us to be indulgent in 
cases where we are not compelled to pardon." 


Elements of Revenge. — The word " revenge " 
is spoken so quickly that it almost seems as if it 
could not contain more than one conceptual and 
emotional root. Hence we are still at pains to find 
this root. Our economists, in the same way, have 
never wearied of scenting a similar unity in the 
word "value," and of hunting after the primitive root 
idea of value. As if all words were not pockets, 
into which this or that or several things have been 
stuffed at once ! So " revenge " is now one thing, 
now another, and sometimes more composite. Let 
us first distinguish that defensive counter-blow, 
which we strike, almost unconsciously, even at in- 
animate objects (such as machinery in motion) that 
have hurt us. The notion is to set a check to the 
object that has hurt us, by bringing the machine to 


a stop. Sometimes the force of this counter-blow, 
in order to attain its object, will have to be strong 
enough to shatter the machine. If the machine be 
too strong to be disorganised by one man, the latter 
will all the same strike the most violent blow he can 
— as a sort of last attempt. We behave similarly 
towards persons who hurt us, at the immediate sen- 
sation of the hurt. If we like to call this an act of 
revenge, well and good : but we must remember that 
here self-preservation alone has set its cog-wheels 
of reason in motion, and that after all we do not 
think of the doer of the injury but only of ourselves. 
We act without any idea of doing injury in return, 
only with a view to getting away safe and sound. 
— It needs time to pass in thought from oneself to 
one's adversary and ask oneself at what point he is 
most vulnerable. This is done in the second variety 
of revenge, the preliminary idea of which is to con- 
sider the vulnerability and susceptibility of the other. 
The intention then is to give pain. On the other 
hand, the idea of securing himself against further 
injury is in this case so entirely outside the avenger's 
horizon, that he almost regularly brings about his 
own further injury and often foresees it in cold 
blood. If in the first sort of revenge it was the 
fear of a second blow that made the counter-blow 
as strong as possible, in this case there is an almost 
complete indifference to what one's adversary will 
do : the strength of the counter-blow is only deter- 
mined by what he has already done to us. Then 
what has he done ? What profit is it to us if he 
is now suffering, after we have suffered through 
him? This is a case of readjustment, whereas the 


first act of revenge only serves the purpose of self- 
preservation. It may be that through our adver- 
sary we have lost property, rank, friends, children 
— these losses are not recovered by revenge, the 
readjustment only concerns a subsidiary loss which 
is added to all the other losses. The revenge of 
readjustment does not preserve one from further 
injury, it does not make good the injury already 
suffered — except in one case. If our honour has 
suffered through our adversary, revenge can restore 
it. But in any case honour has suffered an injury 
if intentional harm has been done us, because our 
adversary proved thereby that he was not afraid of 
us. By revenge we prove that we are not afraid of 
him either, and herein lies the settlement, the read- 
justment. (The intention of showing their complete 
lack of fear goes so far in some people that the 
dangers of revenge — loss of health or life or other 
losses — are in their eyes an indispensable condition 
of every vengeful act. Hence they practise the duel, 
although the law also offers them aid in obtaining 
satisfaction for what they have suffered. They are 
not satisfied with a safe means of recovering their 
honour, because this would not prove their fearless- 
ness.) — In the first-named variety of revenge it is 
just fear that strikes the counter-blow; in the second 
case it is the absence of fear, which, as has been said, 
wishes to manifest itself in the counter-blow. — Thus 
nothing appears more different than the motives of 
the two courses of action which are designated by the 
one word " revenge." Yet it often happens that the 
avenger is not precisely certain as to what really 
prompted his deed : perhaps he struck the counter- 


blow from fear and the instinct of self-preservation, 
but in the background, when he has time to reflect 
upon the standpoint of wounded honour, he imagines 
that he has avenged himself for the sake of his 
honour — this motive is in any case more reputable 
than the other. An essential point is whether he 
sees his honour injured in the eyes of others (the 
world) or only in the eyes of his offenders : in the 
latter case he will prefer secret, in the former open 
revenge. Accordingly, as he enters strongly or 
feebly into the soul of the doer and the spectator, 
his revenge will be more bitter or more tame. If 
he is entirely lacking in this sort of imagination, he 
will not think at all of revenge, as the feeling of 
" honour " is not present in him, and accordingly 
cannot be wounded. In the same way, he will not 
think of revenge if he despises the offender and the 
spectator ; because as objects of his contempt they 
cannot give him honour, and accordingly cannot rob 
him of honour. Finally, he will forego revenge in 
the not uncommon case of his loving the offender. 
It is true that he then suffers loss of honour in the 
other's eyes, and will perhaps become less worthy 
of having his love returned. But even to renounce 
all requital of love is a sacrifice that love is ready 
to make when its only object is to avoid hurting the 
beloved object: this would mean hurting oneself 
more than one is hurt by the sacrifice. — Accordingly, 
every one will avenge himself, unless he be bereft 
of honour or inspired by contempt or by love for the 
offender. Even if he turns to the law-courts, he 
desires revenge as a private individual ; but also, as 
a thoughtful, prudent man of society, he desires the 


revenge of society upon one who does not respect 
it. Thus by legal punishment private honour as 
well as that of society is restored — that is to say, 
punishment is revenge. Punishment undoubtedly 
contains the first-mentioned element of revenge, 
in as far as by its means society helps to preserve 
itself, and strikes a counter-blow in self-defence. 
Punishment desires to prevent further injury, to 
scare other offenders. In this way the two elements 
of revenge, different as they are, are united in punish- 
ment, and this may perhaps tend most of all to 
maintain the above-mentioned confusion of ideas, 
thanks to which the individual avenger generally 
does not know what he really wants. 


The Virtues that Damage Us.— As members 
of communities we think we have no right to exercise 
certain virtues which afford us great honour and some 
pleasure as private individuals (for example, indul- 
gence and favour towards miscreants of all kinds) — 
in short, every mode of action whereby the advantage 
of society would suffer through our virtue. No bench 
of judges, face to face with its conscience, may per- 
mit itself to be gracious. This privilege is reserved 
for the king as an individual, and we are glad when 
he makes use of it, proving that we should like to be 
gracious individually, but not collectively. Society 
recognises only the virtues profitable to her, or at 
least not injurious to her — virtues like justice, which 
are exercised without loss, or, in fact, at compound 
interest. The virtues that damage us cannot have 


originated in society, because even now opposition 
to them arises in every small society that is in the 
making. Such virtues are therefore those of men 
of unequal standing, invented by the superior indi- 
viduals ; they are the virtues of rulers, and the idea 
underlying them is : "I am mighty enough to put 
up with an obvious loss ; that is a proof of my power." 
Thus they are virtues closely akin to pride. 


The Casuistry of Advantage.— There would 
be no moral casuistry if there were no casuistry of 
advantage. The most free and refined intelligence 
is often incapable of choosing between two alterna- 
tives in such a way that his choice necessarily in- 
volves the greater advantage. In such cases we 
choose because we must, and afterwards often feel 
a kind of emotional sea-sickness. 


Turning Hypocrite. — Every beggar turns 
hypocrite, like every one who makes his living out 
of indigence, be it personal or public. — The beggar 
does not feel want nearly so keenly as he must make 
others feel it, if he wishes to make a living by mendi- 


A Sort of Cult of the Passions. — You 

hypochondriacs, you philosophic blind-worms talk 

of the formidable nature of human passions, in 

order to inveigh against the dreadsomeness of the 


whole world-structure. As if the passions were 
always and everywhere formidable ! As if this 
sort of terror must always exist in the world ! — 
Through a carelessness in small matters, through 
a deficiency in observation of self and of the ris- 
ing generation, you have yourselves allowed your 
passions to develop into such unruly monsters that 
you are frightened now at the mere mention of the 
word " passion " ! It rests with you and it rests 
with us to divest the passions of their formidable 
features and so to dam them that they do not 
become devastating floods. — We must not exalt 
our errors into eternal fatalities. Rather shall we 
honestly endeavour to convert all the passions of 
humanity into sources of joy.* 


The Sting of Conscience. — The sting of con- 
science, like the gnawing of a dog at a stone, is 
mere foolishness. 

Origin of Rights.— Rights may be traced to 
traditions, traditions to momentary agreements. At 
some time or other men were mutually content 
with the consequences of making an agreement, 
and, again, too indolent formally to renew it. 
Thus they went on living as if it had constantly 
been renewed, and gradually, when oblivion cast its 

* The play on Freudenschaften {i.e. pleasure-giving passions) 
and Leidenschaften (i.e. pain-giving passions) is often used by 
Nietzsche, and is untranslateable. — Tr. 


veil over the origin, they thought they possessed 
a sacred, unalterable foundation on which every 
generation would be compelled to build. Tradi- 
tion was now a constraint, even if it no more in- 
volved the profit originally derived from making the 
agreement. — Here the weak have always found their 
strong fortress. They are inclined to immortalise 
the momentary agreement, the single act of favour 
shown towards them. 


The Significance of Oblivion in Moral 
Sentiment. — The same actions that in primitive 
society first aimed at the common advantage were 
later on performed from other motives : from fear 
or reverence of those who demanded and recom- 
mended them ; or from habit, because men had seen 
them done about them from childhood upwards ; 
or from kindness, because the practising of them 
caused delight and approving looks on all sides; 
or from vanity, because they were praised. Such 
actions, in which the fundamental motive, that of 
utility, has been forgotten, are then called moral ; 
not, indeed, because they are done from those other 
motives, but because they are not done with a con- 
scious purpose of utility. — Whence the hatred of 
utility that suddenly manifests itself here, and 
by which all praiseworthy actions formally ex- 
clude all actions for the sake of utility ? — Clearly 
society, the rallying-point of all morality and of 
all maxims in praise of moral action, has had to 
battle too long and too fiercely with the selfishness 
and obstinacy of the individual not to rate every 


motive morally higher than utility. Hence it looks 
as if morals had not sprung from utility, whereas 
in fact morals are originally the public utility, 
which had great difficulty in prevailing over the 
interests of the unit and securing a loftier reputa- 


The Heirs to the Wealth of Morality.— 
Even in the domain of morals there is an inherited 
wealth, which is owned by the gentle, the good- 
tempered, the compassionate, the indulgent. They 
have inherited from their forefathers their gentle 
mode of action, but not common sense (the source 
of that mode of action). The pleasant thing about 
this wealth is that one must always bestow and 
communicate a portion of it, if its presence is to be 
felt at all. Thus this wealth unconsciously aims 
at bridging the gulf between the morally rich and 
the morally poor, and, what is its best and most 
remarkable feature, not for the sake of a future 
mean between rich and poor, but for the sake of a 
universal prosperity and superfluity. — Such may be 
the prevailing view of inherited moral wealth, but 
it seems to me that this view is maintained more 
in majorem gloriam of morality than in honour 
of truth. Experience at least establishes a maxim 
which must serve, if not as a refutation, at any rate 
as an important check upon that generalisation. 
Without the most exquisite intelligence, says experi- 
ence, without the most refined capacity for choice 
and a strong propensity to observe the mean, the 
morally rich will become spendthrifts of morality. 


For by abandoning themselves without restraint to 
their compassionate, gentle, conciliatory, harmon- 
ising instincts, they make all about them more 
careless, more covetous, and more sentimental. 
The children of these highly moral spendthrifts 
easily and (sad to relate) at best become pleasant 
but futile wasters. 


The Judge and Extenuating Circum- 
stances. — " One should behave as a man of honour 
even towards the devil and pay his debts," said an 
old soldier, when the story of Faust had been related 
to him in rather fuller detail. " Hell is the right 
place for Faust ! " " You are terrible, you men ! " 
cried his wife ; " how can that be ? After all, his 
only fault was having no ink in his ink-stand ! It 
is indeed a sin to write with blood, but surely for 
that such a handsome man ought not to burn in 

Problem of the Duty of Truth. — Duty is 
an imperious sentiment that forces us to action. 
We call it good, and consider it outside the pale 
of discussion. The origin, limits, and justification 
of duty we will not debate or allow to be debated. 
But the thinker considers everything an evolution 
and every evolution a subject for discussion, and is 
accordingly without duty so long as he is merely 
a thinker. As such, he would not recognise the 
duty of seeing and speaking the truth ; he would 
not feel the sentiment at all. He asks, whence 
comes it and whither will it go? But even this 


questioning appears to him questionable. Surely, 
however, the consequence would be that the think- 
er's machinery would no longer work properly if 
he could really feel himself unencumbered by duty 
in the search for knowledge? It would appear, 
then, that for fuel the same element is necessary as 
must be investigated by means of the machine. — 
Perhaps the formula will be : granted there were 
a duty of recognising truth, what is then the truth 
in regard to every other kind of duty? — But is 
not a hypothetical sense of duty a contradiction in 
terms ? 


Grades of Morals. — Morality is primarily 
a means of preserving the community and saving 
it from destruction. Next it is a means of main- 
taining the community on a certain plane and in a 
certain degree of benevolence. Its motives are fear 
and hope, and these in a more coarse, rough, and 
powerful form, the more the propensity towards 
the perverse, one-sided, and personal still persists. 
The most terrible means of intimidation must be 
brought into play so long as milder forms have 
no effect and that twofold species of preservation 
cannot be attained. (The strongest intimidation, 
by the way, is the invention of a hereafter with a 
hell everlasting.) For this purpose we must have 
racks and torturers of the soul. Further grades of 
morality, and accordingly means to the end re- 
ferred to, are the commandments of a God (as in 
the Mosaic law). Still further and higher are the 
commandments of an absolute sense of duty with 


a " Thou shalt " — all rather roughly hewn yet broad 
steps, because on the finer, narrower steps men 
cannot yet set their feet. Then comes a morality 
of inclination, of taste, finally of insight — which is 
beyond all the illusory motives of morality, but 
has convinced itself that humanity for long periods 
could be allowed no other. 

The Morality of Pity in the Mouths of the 
Intemperate. — All those who are not sufficiently 
masters of themselves and do not know morality 
as a self-control and self- conquest continuously 
exercised in things great and small, unconsciously 
come to glorify the good, compassionate, benevolent 
impulses of that instinctive morality which has no 
head, but seems merely to consist of a heart and 
helpful hands. It is to their interest even to cast 
suspicion upon a morality of reason and to set up 
the other as the sole morality. 


Sewers of the Soul. — Even the soul must 
have its definite sewers, through which it can allow 
its filth to flow off: for this purpose it may use 
persons, relations, social classes, its native country, 
or the world, or finally — for the wholly arrogant (I 
mean our modern " pessimists ") — le bon Dieu. 

A Kind of Rest and Contemplation.— Be- 
ware lest your rest and contemplation resemble that 


of a dog before a butcher's stall, prevented by fear 
from advancing and by greed from retiring, and 
opening its eyes wide as though they were mouths. 


Prohibitions without Reasons. — A prohibi- 
tion, the reason of which we do not understand or 
admit, is almost a command, not only for the stiff- 
necked but for the thirster after knowledge. We 
at once make an experiment in order to learn why 
the prohibition was made. Moral prohibitions, like 
those of the Decalogue, are only suited to ages 
when reason lies vanquished. Nowadays a pro- 
hibition like "Thou shalt not kill," "Thou shalt 
not commit adultery," laid down without reasons, 
would have an injurious rather than a beneficial 


Character Portrait.— What sort of a man 
is it that can say of himself : " I despise very easily, 
but never hate. I at once find out in every man 
something which can be honoured and for which I 
honour him : the so-called amiable qualities attract 
me but little"? 


Pity and Contempt. — The expression of pity 
is regarded as a sign of contempt, because one has 
clearly ceased to be an object oifear as soon as one 
becomes an object of pity. One has sunk below 
the level of the equilibrium. For this equilibrium 
does not satisfy human vanity, which is only satis- 


fied by the feeling that one is imposing respect and 
awe. Hence it is difficult to explain why pity is 
so highly prized, just as we need to explain why 
the unselfish man, who is originally despised or 
feared as being artful, is praised. 

The Capacity of Being Small. — We must 
be as near to flowers, grasses, and butterflies as 
a child, that is, not much bigger than they. We 
adults have grown up beyond them and have to 
stoop to them. I think the grasses hate us when 
we confess our love for them. — He who would have 
a share in all good things must understand at times 
how to be small. 


The Sum-Total of Conscience.— The sum- 
total of our conscience is all that has regularly been 
demanded of us, without reason, in the days of our 
childhood, by people whom we respected or feared. 
From conscience comes that feeling of obligation 
(" This I must do, this omit ") which does not ask, 
Why must I ? — In all cases where a thing is done 
with " because " and " why," man acts without con- 
science, but not necessarily on that account against 
conscience. — The belief in authority is the source of 
conscience ; which is therefore not the voice of God 
in the heart of man, but the voice of some men in 

Conquest of the Passions.— The man who has 
overcome his passions has entered into possession 


of the most fruitful soil, like the colonist who has 
become lord over bogs and forests. To sow the 
seed of spiritual good works on the soil of the 
vanquished passions is the next and most urgent 
task. The conquest itself is a means, not an end : 
if it be not so regarded, all kind of weeds and 
devil's crop quickly spring up upon the fertile soil 
that has been cleared, and soon the growth is all 
wilder and more luxuriant than before. 


Skill in Service. — All so-called practical men 
have skill in service, whether it be serving others 
or themselves ; this is what makes them practical. 
Robinson owned a servant even better than Friday 
— his name was Crusoe. 

Danger in Speech to Intellectual Free- 
dom. — Every word is a preconceived judgment. 

5 6. 

Intellect and Boredom. — The proverb, " The 
Hungarian is far too lazy to feel bored," gives food 
for thought. Only the highest and most active 
animals are capable of being bored. — The boredom 
of God on the seventh day of Creation would be a 
subject for a great poet. 

Intercourse with Animals.— The origin of 
our morality may still be observed in our relations 



with animals. Where advantage or the reverse do 
not come into play, we have a feeling of complete 
irresponsibility. For example, we kill or wound 
insects or let them live, and as a rule think no more 
about it. We are so clumsy that even our gracious 
acts towards flowers and small animals are almost 
always murderous : this does not in the least detract 
from our pleasure in them. — To-day is the festival 
of the small animals, the most sultry day of the 
year. There is a swarming and crawling around 
us, and we, without intention, but also without 
reflection, crush here and there a little fly or 
winged beetle. — If animals do us harm, we strive 
to annihilate them in every possible way. The 
means are often cruel enough, even without our 
really intending them to be so — it is the cruelty of 
thoughtlessness. If they are useful, we turn them 
to advantage, until a more refined wisdom teaches 
us that certain animals amply reward a different 
mode of treatment, that of tending and breeding. 
Here responsibility first arises. Torturing is avoided 
in the case of the domestic animal. One man is 
indignant if another is cruel to his cow, quite in 
accordance with the primitive communal morality, 
which sees the commonwealth in danger whenever 
an individual does wrong. He who perceives any 
transgression in the community fears indirect harm 
to himself. Thus we fear in this case for the quality 
of meat, agriculture, and means of communication 
if we see the domestic animals ill-treated. More- 
over, he who is harsh to animals awakens a suspicion 
that he is also harsh to men who are weak, inferior, 
and incapable of revenge. He is held to be ignoble 


and deficient in the finer form of pride. Thus arises 
a foundation of moral judgments and sentiments, 
but the greatest contribution is made by supersti- 
tion. Many animals incite men by glances, tones, 
and gestures to transfer themselves into them 
in imagination, and some religions teach us, under 
certain circumstances, to see in animals the dwelling- 
place of human and divine souls : whence they re- 
commend a nobler caution or even a reverential 
awe in intercourse with animals. Even after the 
disappearance of this superstition the sentiments 
awakened by it continue to exercise their influence, 
to ripen and to blossom. — Christianity, as is well 
known, has shown itself in this respect a poor and 
retrograde religion. 


New Actors. — Among human beings there is 
no greater banality than death. Second in order, 
because it is possible to die without being born, 
comes birth, and next comes marriage. But these 
hackneyed little tragi-comedies are always pre- 
sented, at each of their unnumbered and innumerable 
performances, by new actors, and accordingly do 
not cease to find interested spectators : whereas we 
might well believe that the whole audience of the 
world-theatre had long since hanged themselves to 
every tree from sheer boredom at these performances. 
So much depends on new actors, so little on the 


What is " Being Obstinate " ?— The shortest 
way is not the straightest possible, but that wherein 


favourable winds swell our sails. So says the wis- 
dom of seamen. Not to follow his course is obsti- 
nate, firmness of character being then adulterated 
by stupidity. 


The Word "Vanity." — It is annoying that 
certain words, with which we moralists positively 
cannot dispense, involve in themselves a kind of 
censorship of morals, dating from the times when 
the most ordinary and natural impulses were de- 
nounced. Thus that fundamental conviction that 
on the waves of society we either find navigable 
waters or suffer shipwreck far more through what 
we appear than through what we are (a conviction 
that must act as guiding principle of all action in 
relation to society) is branded with the general word 
" vanity." In other words, one of the most weighty 
and significant of qualities is branded with an ex- 
pression which denotes it as essentially empty and 
negative : a great thing is designated by a diminu- 
tive, ay, even slandered by the strokes of caricature. 
There is no help for it ; we must use such words, but 
then we must shut our ears to the insinuations of 
ancient habits. 


The Fatalism of the Turk. — The fatalism of 
the Turk has this fundamental defect, that it con- 
trasts man and fate as two distinct things. Man, 
says this doctrine, may struggle against fate and 
try to baffle it, but in the end fate will always gain 
the victory. Hence the most rational course is to 


resign oneself or to live as one pleases. As a 
matter of fact, every man is himself a piece of fate. 
When he thinks that he is struggling against fate 
in this way, fate is accomplishing its ends even in 
that struggle. The combat is a fantasy, but so is the 
resignation in fate — all these fantasies are included 
in fate. — The fear felt by most people of the doctrine 
that denies the freedom of the will is a fear of the 
fatalism of the Turk. They imagine that man will 
become weakly resigned and will stand before the 
future with folded hands, because he cannot alter 
anything of the future. Or that he will give a free 
rein to his caprices, because the predestined cannot 
be made worse by that course. The follies of men 
are as much a piece of fate as are his wise actions, 
and even that fear of belief in fate is a fatality. You 
yourself, you poor timid creature, are that indomit- 
able Moira, which rules even the Gods ; whatever 
may happen, you are a curse or a blessing, and 
in any case the fetters wherein the strongest lies 
bound : in you the whole future of the human world 
is predestined, and it is no use for you to be frightened 
of yourself. 


The Advocate of the Devil. — " Only by our 
own suffering do we become wise, only by others' 
suffering do we become good " — so runs that strange 
philosophy which derives all morality from pity and 
all intellectuality from the isolation of the individual. 
Herein this philosophy is the unconscious pleader 
for all human deterioration. For pity needs suffer- 
ing, and isolation contempt of others. 



The Moral Character -Masks. — In ages 
when the character-masks of different classes are 
definitely fixed, like the classes themselves, moralists 
will be seduced into holding the moral character- 
masks, too, as absolute, and in delineating them 
accordingly. Thus Moliere is intelligible as the 
contemporary of the society of Louis XIV. : in our 
society of transitions and intermediate stages he 
would seem an inspired pedant. 

The Most Noble Virtue. — In the first era of 
the higher humanity courage is accounted the most 
noble virtue, in the next justice, in the third temper- 
ance, in the fourth wisdom. In which era do we 
live ? In which do you live ? 

A Necessary Preliminary. — A man who will 
not become master of his irritability, his venomous 
and vengeful feelings, and his lust, and attempts to 
become master in anything else, is as stupid as the 
farmer who lays out his field beside a torrent with- 
out guarding against that torrent. 


What is Truth? — Schwarzert (Melanchthon) : 
We often preach our faith when we have lost it, and 
leave not a stone unturned to find it — and then we 
often do not preach worst ! 


Luther : Brother, you are really speaking like an 
angel to-day. 

Schwarzert'. But that is the idea of your enemies, 
and they apply it to you. 

Luther-. Then it would be a lie from the devil's 

The Habit of Contrasts. — Superficial, in- 
exact observation sees contrasts everywhere in 
nature (for instance, " hot and cold "), where there 
are no contrasts, only differences of degree. This 
bad habit has induced us to try to understand 
and interpret even the inner nature, the intellectual 
and moral world, in accordance with such contrasts. 
An infinite amount of cruelty, arrogance, harshness, 
estrangement, and coldness has entered into human 
emotion, because men imagined they saw contrasts 
where there were only transitions. 


Can We Forgive ? — How can we forgive them 
at all, if they know not what they do ? We have 
nothing to forgive. But does a man ever fully know 
what he is doing ? And if this point at least remains 
always debatable, men never have anything to for- 
give each other, and indulgence is for the reason- 
able man an impossible thing. Finally, if the 
evil-doers had really known what they did, we 
should still only have a right to forgive if we had a 
right to accuse and to punish. But we have not 
that right. 


6 9 . 

Habitual Shame.— Why do we feel shame 
when some virtue or merit is attributed to us which, 
as the saying goes, "we have not deserved"? 
Because we appear to have intruded upon a territory 
to which we do not belong, from which we should 
be excluded, as from a holy place or holy of holies, 
which ought not to be trodden by our foot. Through 
the errors of others we have, nevertheless, penetrated 
to it, and we are now swayed partly by fear, partly 
by reverence, partly by surprise ; we do not know 
whether we ought to fly or to enjoy the blissful 
moment with all its gracious advantages. In all 
shame there is a mystery, which seems desecrated or 
in danger of desecration through us. All favour 
begets shame. — But if it be remembered that we 
have never really " deserved " anything, this feeling 
of shame, provided that we surrender ourselves to 
this point of view in a spirit of Christian contem- 
plation, becomes habitual, because upon such a 
one God seems continually to be conferring his 
blessing and his favours. Apart from this Christian 
interpretation, the state of habitual shame will be 
possible even to the entirely godless sage, who 
clings firmly to the basic non-responsibility and non- 
meritoriousness of all action and being. If he be 
treated as if he had deserved this or that, he will 
seem to have won his way into a higher order of 
beings, who do actually deserve something, who are 
free and can really bear the burden of responsibility 
for their own volition and capacity. Whoever says 
to him, "You have deserved it," appears to cry 


out to him, "You are not a human being, but a 


The Most Unskilful Teacher. — In one man 
all his real virtues are implanted on the soil of his 
spirit of contradiction, in another on his incapacity 
to say "no" — in other words, on his spirit of ac- 
quiescence. A third has made all his morality grow 
out of his pride as a solitary, a fourth from his 
strong social instinct. Now,supposing that theseeds 
of the virtues in these four cases, owing to mischance 
or unskilful teachers, were not sown on the soil of 
their nature, which provides them with the richest 
and most abundant mould, they would become 
weak, unsatisfactory men (devoid of morality). 
And who would have been the most unskilful of 
teachers, the evil genius of these men ? The moral 
fanatic, who thinks that the good can only grow 
out of the good and on the soil of the good. 


The Cautious Style.— A. But if this were 
known to all, it would be injurious to the majority. 
You yourself call your opinions dangerous to those 
in danger, and yet you make them public ? 

B. I write so that neither the mob, nor the 
populiy nor the parties of all kinds can read me. So 
my opinions will never be " public opinions." 

A. How do you write, then? 

B. Neither usefully nor pleasantly — for the three 
classes I have mentioned. 



Divine Missionaries. — Even Socrates feels 
himself to be a divine missionary, but I am not sure 
whether we should not here detect a tincture of that 
Attic irony and fondness for jesting whereby this 
odious, arrogant conception would be toned down. 
He talks of the fact without unction — his images of 
the gadfly and the horse are simple and not sacer- 
dotal. The real religious task which he has set 
himself — to test God in a hundred ways and see 
whether he spoke the truth — betrays a bold and free 
attitude, in which the missionary walked by the side 
of his God. This testing of God is one of the most 
subtle compromises between piety and free-thinking 
that has ever been devised. — Nowadays we do not 
even need this compromise any longer. 

Honesty in Painting. — Raphael, who cared a 
great deal for the Church (so far as she could pay 
him), but, like the best men of his time, cared little 
for the objects of the Church's belief, did not advance 
one step to meet the exacting, ecstatic piety of many 
of his patrons. He remained honest even in that 
exceptional picture which was originally intended 
for a banner in a procession — the Sistine Madonna. 
Here for once he wished to paint a vision, but such 
a vision as even noble youths without " faith " may 
and will have — the vision of the future wife, a wise, 
high-souled, silent, and very beautiful woman, carry- 
ing her first-born in her arms. Let men of an older 
generation, accustomed to prayer and devotion, find 


here, like the worthy elder on the left, something 
superhuman to revere. We younger men (so 
Raphael seems to call to us) are occupied with the 
beautiful maiden on the right, who says to the 
spectator of the picture, with her challenging and 
by no means devout look, "The mother and her 
child — is not that a pleasant, inviting sight ? " The 
face and the look are reflected in the joy in the faces 
of the beholders. The artist who devised all this 
enjoys himself in this way, and adds his own delight 
to the delight of the art-lover. As regards the 
" messianic " expression in the face of the child, 
Raphael, honest man, who would not paint any 
state of soul in which he did not believe, has 
amiably cheated his religious admirers. He painted 
that freak of nature which is very often found, the 
man's eye in the child's face, and that, too, the eye 
of a brave, helpful man who sees distress. This eye 
should be accompanied by a beard. The fact that a 
beard is wanting, and that two different ages are seen 
in one countenance, is the pleasing paradox which 
believers have interpreted in accordance with their 
faith in miracles. The artist could only expect as 
much from their art of exposition and interpretation. 


Prayer. — On two hypotheses alone is there any 
sense in prayer, that not quite extinct custom of 
olden times. It would have to be possible either 
to fix or alter the will of the godhead, and the 
devotee would have to know best himself what he 
needs and should really desire. Both hypotheses, 


axiomatic and traditional in all other religions, are 
denied by Christianity. If Christianity neverthe- 
less maintained prayer side by side with its belief 
in the all-wise and all-provident divine reason (a 
belief that makes prayer really senseless and even 
blasphemous), it showed here once more its admir- 
able " wisdom of the serpent." For an outspoken 
command, " Thou shalt not pray," would have led 
Christians by way of boredom to the denial of 
Christianity. In the Christian ora et labora ora 
plays the role of pleasure. Without ora what could 
those unlucky saints who renounced labora have 
done ? But to have a chat with God, to ask him 
for all kinds of pleasant things, to feel a slight 
amusement at one's own folly in still having any 
wishes at all, in spite of so excellent a father — all 
that was an admirable invention for saints. 

A HOLY Lie. — The lie that was on Arria's lips 
when she died {Paete, non dolet *) obscures all the 
truths that have ever been uttered by the dying. 
It is the only holy lie that has become famous, 
whereas elsewhere the odour of sanctity has clung 
only to errors. 


The Most Necessary Apostle. — Among 
twelve apostles one must always be hard as stone, in 
order that upon him the new church may be built. 

* The wife of the Stoic Thrasea Paetus, when their com- 
plicity in the great conspiracy of 65 a.d. against Nero was 
discovered, is reported to have said as she committed suicide, 
" It doesn't hurt, Paetus."— Tr. 



Which is more Transitory, the Body or 
the Spirit ? — In legal, moral, and religious institu- 
tions the external and concrete elements — in other 
words, rites, gestures, and ceremonies — are the most 
permanent. They are the body to which a new 
spirit is constantly being superadded. The cult, 
like an unchangeable text, is ever interpreted anew. 
Concepts and emotions are fluid, customs are solid. 


The Belief in Disease qua Disease. — 
Christianity first painted the devil on the wall of 
the world. Christianity first brought the idea of sin 
into the world. The belief in the remedies, which 
is offered as an antidote, has gradually been shaken 
to its very foundations. But the belief in the 
disease, which Christianity has taught and propa- 
gated, still exists. 


Speech and Writings of Religious Men. — 
If the priest's style and general expression, both in 
speaking and writing, do not clearly betray the 
religious man, we need no longer take his views 
upon religion and his pleading for religion seriously. 
These opinions have become powerless for him if, 
judging by his style, he has at command irony, 
arrogance, malice, hatred, and all the changing 
eddies of mood, just like the most irreligious of 
men — how far more powerless will they be for his 


hearers and readers! In short, he will serve to 
make the latter still more irreligious. 


The Danger in Personality. — The more 
God has been regarded as a personality in himself, 
the less loyal have we been to him. Men are far 
more attached to their thought-images than to their 
best beloved. That is why they sacrifice themselves 
for State, Church, and even for God — so far as he 
remains their creation, their thought, and is not too 
much looked upon as a personality. In the latter 
case they almost always quarrel with him. After 
all, it was the most pious of men who let slip that 
bitter cry : " My God, why hast thou forsaken me ? " 


Worldly Justice.— It is possible to unhinge 
worldly justice with the doctrine [of the complete 
non - responsibility and innocence of every man. 
An attempt has been made in the same direction 
on the basis of the opposite doctrine of the full 
responsibility and guilt of every man. It was the 
founder of Christianity who wished to abolish 
worldly justice and banish judgment and punish- 
ment from the world. For he understood all guilt 
as " sin " — that is, an outrage against God and not 
against the world. On the other hand, he con- 
sidered every man in a broad sense, and almost 
in every sense, a sinner. The guilty, however, are 
not to be the judges of their peers — so his rules 


of equity decided. Thus all dispensers of worldly 
justice were in his eyes as culpable as those they 
condemned, and their air of guiltlessness appeared 
to him hypocritical and pharisaical. Moreover, he 
looked to the motives and not to the results of 
actions, and thought that only one was keen-sighted 
enough to give a verdict on motives — himself or, as 
he expressed it, God. 


An Affectation in Parting.— He who wishes 
to sever his connection with a party or a creed thinks 
it necessary for him to refute it. This is a most 
arrogant notion. The only thing necessary is that 
he should clearly see what tentacles hitherto held 
him to this party or creed and no longer hold him, 
what views impelled him to it and now impel him 
in some other directions. We have not joined the 
party or creed on strict grounds of knowledge. We 
should not affect this attitude on parting from it 

Saviour and Physician.— In his knowledge of 
the human soul the founder of Christianity was, as 
is natural, not without many great deficiencies and 
prejudices, and, as physician of the soul, was ad- 
dicted to that disreputable, laical belief in a universal 
medicine. In his methods he sometimes resembles 
that dentist who wishes to heal all pain by extract- 
ing the tooth. Thus, for example, he assails sensu- 
ality with the advice : " If thine eye offend thee, 
pluck it out." — Yet there still remains the distinction 


that the dentist at least attains his object — painless- 
ness for the patient — although in so clumsy a fashion 
that he becomes ridiculous ; whereas the Christian 
who follows that advice and thinks he has killed 
his sensuality, is wrong, for his sensuality still lives 
in an uncanny, vampire form, and torments him in 
hideous disguises. 


Prisoners. — One morning the prisoners entered 
the yard for work, but the warder was not there. 
Some, as their manner was, set to work at once ; 
others stood idle and gazed defiantly around. 
Then one of them strode forward and cried, " Work 
as much as you will or do nothing, it all comes to 
the same. Your secret machinations have come to 
light ; the warder has been keeping his eye on you 
of late, and will cause a terrible judgment to be 
passed upon you in a few days' time. You know 
him — he is of a cruel and resentful disposition. 
But now, listen : you have mistaken me hitherto. 
I am not what I seem, but far more — I am the son 
of the warder, and can get anything I like out of 
him. I can save you — nay, I will save you. But 
remember this : I will only save those of you who 
believe that I am the son of the prison warder. 
The rest may reap the fruits of their unbelief." 
"Well," said an old prisoner after an interval of 
silence, "what can it matter to you whether we 
believe you or not ? If you are really the son, and 
can do what you say, then put in a good word for 
us all. That would be a real kindness on your 
part. But have done with all talk of belief and 


unbelief! " " What is more," cried a younger man, 
" I don't believe him : he has only got a bee in his 
bonnet. I'll wager that in a week's time we shall 
find ourselves in the same place as we are to-day, 
and the warder will know nothing." " And if the 
warder ever knew anything, he knows it no longer," 
said the last of the prisoners, coming down into 
the yard at that moment, "for he has just died 
suddenly." " Ah ha ! " cried several in confusion, 
" ah ha ! Sir Son, Sir Son, how stands it now with 
your title ? Are we by any chance your prisoners 
now ? " "I told you," answered the man gently, 
'' I will set free all who believe in me, as surely as 
my father still lives." — The prisoners did not laugh, 
but shrugged their shoulders and left him to himself. 

8 5 . 
The Persecutors of God.— Paul conceived 
and Calvin followed up the idea that countless 
creatures have been predestined to damnation from 
time immemorial, and that this fair world was 
made in order that the glory of God might be 
manifested therein. So heaven and hell and man- 
kind merely exist to satisfy the vanity of God ! 
What acruel, insatiable vanity must have smouldered 
in the soul of the first or second thinker of such a 
thought ! — Paul, then, after all, remained Saul — the 
persecutor of God. 


Socrates. — If all goes well, the time will come 
when, in order to advance themselves on the path 


of moral reason, men will rather take up the 
Memorabilia of Socrates than the Bible, and when 
Montaigne and Horace will be used as pioneers and 
guides for the understanding of Socrates, the simplest 
and most enduring of interpretative sages. In him 
converge the roads of the most different philo- 
sophic modes of life, which are in truth the modes of 
the different temperaments, crystallised by reason 
and habit and all ultimately directed towards the 
delight in life and in self. The apparent conclu- 
sion is that the most peculiar thing about Socrates 
was his share in all the temperaments. Socrates 
excels the founder of Christianity by virtue of his 
merry style of seriousness and by that wisdom of 
sheer roguish pranks which constitutes the best state 
of soul in a man. Moreover, he had a superior in- 


Learning to Write Well.— The age of good 
speaking is over, because the age of city-state culture 
is over. The limit allowed by Aristotle to the 
great city — in which the town-crier must be able 
to make himself heard by the whole assembled 
community — troubles us as little as do any city- 
communities, us who even wish to be understood 
beyond the boundaries of nations. Therefore 
every one who is of a good European turn of mind 
must learn to write well, and to write better and 
better. He cannot help himself, he must learn 
that : even if he was born in Germany, where bad 
writing is looked upon as a national privilege. 
Better writing means better thinking; always to 


discover matter more worthy of communication ; to 
be able to communicate it properly ; to be translate- 
able into the tongues of neighbouring nations ; to 
make oneself comprehensible to foreigners who 
learn our language; to work with the view of 
making all that is good common property, and of 
giving free access everywhere to the free; finally, 
to pave the way for that still remote state of things, 
when the great task shall come for good Europeans — 
guidance and guardianship of the universal world- 
culture. — Whoever preaches the opposite doctrine 
of not troubling about good writing and good 
reading (both virtues grow together and decline 
together) is really showing the peoples a way of 
becoming more and more national. He is intensi- 
fying the malady of this century, and is a foe to 
good Europeans, a foe to free spirits. 


The Theory of the Best Style. — The theory 
of the best style may at one time be the theory of 
finding the expression by which we transfer every 
mood of ours to the reader and the listener. At 
another, it may be the theory of finding expressions 
for the more desirable human moods, the communi- 
cation and transference of which one desires most 
— for the mood of a man moved from the depth of 
his heart, intellectually cheerful, bright, and sincere, 
who has conquered his passions. This will be the 
theory of the best style, a theory that corresponds 
to the good man. 


8 9 . 

Paying Attention to Movement. — The 
movement of the sentences shows whether the 
author be tired. Individual expressions may never- 
theless be still strong and good, because they were 
invented earlier and for their own sake, when the 
thought first flashed across the author's mind. This 
is frequently the case with Goethe, who too often 
dictated when he was tired. 


"Already" and "Still." — A. German prose 
is still very young. Goethe declares that Wieland 
is its father. 

B. So young and already so ugly ! 

C. But, so far as I am aware, Bishop Ulfilas al- 
ready wrote German prose, which must therefore 
be fifteen hundred years old. 

B. So old and still so ugly ! 

Original German. — German prose, which is 
really not fashioned on any pattern and must be 
considered an original creation of German taste, 
should give the eager advocate of a future original 
German culture an indication of how real German 
dress, German society, German furniture, German 
meals would look without the imitation of models. 
— Some one who had long reflected on these vistas 
finally cried in great horror, " But, Heaven help us, 
perhaps we already have that original culture — 
only we don't like to talk about it ! " 


Forbidden Books. — One should never read 
anything written by those arrogant wiseacres and 
puzzle-brains who have the detestable vice of 
logical paradox. They apply logical formulae just 
where everything is really improvised at random 
and built in the air. (" Therefore " with them 
means, "You idiot of a reader, this 'therefore' 
does not exist for you, but only for me." The 
answer to this is : " You idiot of a writer, then why 
do you write ? ") 

Displaying One's Wit. — Every one who wishes 
to display his wit thereby proclaims that he has 
also a plentiful lack of wife That vice which clever 
Frenchmen have of adding a touch oidedain to their 
best ideas arises from a desire to be considered 
richer than they really are. They wish to be care- 
lessly generous, as if weary of continual spending 
from overfull treasuries. 

French and German Literature.— The mis- 
fortune of the French and German literature of the 
last hundred years is that the Germans ran away too 
early from the French school, and the French, later 
on, went too early to the German school. 

OUR PROSE. — None of the present-day cultured 
nations has so bad a prose as the German. When 



clever, blast Frenchmen say, " There is no German 
prose," we ought really not to be angry, for this 
criticism is more polite than we deserve. If we look 
for reasons, we come at last to the strange pheno- 
menon that the German knows only improvised 
prose and has no conception of any other. He 
simply cannot understand the Italian, who says that 
prose is as much harder than poetry as the repre- 
sentation of naked beauty is harder to the sculptor 
than that of draped beauty. Verse, images, rhythm, 
and rhyme need honest effort — that even the German 
realises, and he is not inclined to set a very high 
value on extempore poetry. But the notion of work- 
ing at a page of prose as at a statue sounds to him 
like a tale from fairyland. 


The Grand Style. — The grand style comes into 
being when the beautiful wins a victory over the 

DODGING. — We do not realise, in the case of dis- 
tinguished minds, wherein lies the excellence of their 
expression, their turn of phrase, until we can say 
what word every mediocre writer would inevitably 
have hit upon in expressing the same idea. All great 
artists, in steering their car, show themselves prone 
to dodge and leave the track, but never to fall over. 

Something like Bread. — Bread neutralises 
and takes out the taste of other food, and is there- 


fore necessary to every long meal. In all works of 
art there must be something like bread, in order that 
they may produce divers effects. If these effects 
followed one another without occasional pauses and 
intervals, they would soon make us weary and pro- 
voke disgust — in fact, a long meal of art would then 
be impossible. 


Jean Paul. — Jean Paul knew a great deal, but 
had no science ; understood all manner of tricks of 
art, but had no art ; found almost everything enjoy- 
able, but had no taste ; possessed feeling and serious- 
ness, but in dispensing them poured over them a 
nauseous sauce of tears ; had even wit, but, unfor- 
tunately for his ardent desire for it, far too little — 
whence he drives the reader to despair by his very 
lack of wit. In short, he was the bright, rank : 
smelling weed that shot up overnight in the fair 
pleasaunces of Schiller and Goethe. He was a good, 
comfortable man, and yet a destiny, a destiny in a 


Palate for Opposites.— In order to enjoy a 
work of the past as its contemporaries enjoyed it, 
one must have a palate for the prevailing taste of 
the age which it attacked. 

* It is interesting to compare this judgment with Carlyle's 
praise of Jean Paul. The dressing-gown is an allusion to 
Jean Paul's favourite costume. — Tr. 



Spirits-OF-Wine Authors.— Many writers are 
neither spirit nor wine, but spirits of wine. They 
can flare up, and then they give warmth. 

The Interpretative Sense.— The sense of 
taste, as the true interpretative sense, often talks the 
other senses over to its point of view and imposes 
upon them its laws and customs. At table one can 
receive disclosures about the most subtle secrets of 
the arts ; it suffices to observe what tastes good and 
when and after what and how long it tastes good. 

LESSING. — Lessing had a genuine French talent, 
and, as writer, went most assiduously to the French 
school. He knows well how to arrange and display 
his wares in his shop-window. Without this true 
art his thoughts, like the objects of them, would have 
remained rather in the dark, nor would the general 
loss be great. His art, however, has taught many 
(especially the last generation of German scholars) 
and has given enjoyment to a countless number. 
It is true his disciples had no need to learn from 
him, as they often did, his unpleasant tone with its 
mingling of petulance and candour. — Opinion is now 
unanimous on Lessing as " lyric poet," and will some 
day be unanimous on Lessing as " dramatic poet." 

Undesirable Readers. — How an author is 
vexed by those stolid, awkward readers who always 


fall at every place where they stumble, and always 
hurt themselves when they fall ! 


Poets' Thoughts. — Real thoughts of real poets 
always go about with a veil on, like Egyptian women ; 
only the deep eye of thought looks out freely through 
the veil. — Poets' thoughts are as a rule not of such 
value as is supposed. We have to pay for the veil 
and for our own curiosity into the bargain. 


Write Simply and Usefully. — Transitions, 
details, colour in depicting the passions — we make 
a present of all these to the author because we bring 
them with us and set them down to the credit of his 
book, provided he makes us some compensation. 


WlELAND. — Wieland wrote German better than 
any one else, and had the genuine adequacies and 
inadequacies of the master. His translations of 
the letters of Cicero and Lucian are the best in 
the language. His ideas, however, add nothing to 
our store of thought. We can endure his cheerful 
moralities as little as his cheerful immoralities, for 
both are very closely connected. The men who en- 
joyed them were at bottom better men than we are, 
but also a good deal heavier. They needed an author 
of this sort. The Germans did not need Goethe, and 
therefore cannot make proper use of him. We have 


only to consider the best of our statesmen and 
artists in this light. None of them had or could 
have had Goethe as their teacher. 


Rare Festivals. — Pithyconciseness, repose, and 
maturity — where you find these qualities in an 
author, cry halt and celebrate a great festival in the 
desert. It will be long before you have such a treat 


The Treasure of German Prose. — Apart 
from Goethe's writings and especially Goethe's con- 
versations with Eckermann (the best German book 
in existence), what German prose literature remains 
that is worth reading over and over again ? Lichten- 
berg's Aphorisms, the first book of Jung-Stilling's 
Story of My Life, Adalbert Stifter's St. Martin's 
Summer and Gottfried Keller's People of Seldwyla 
— and there, for the time being, it comes to an end. 


Literary and Colloquial Style.— The art 
of writing demands, first and foremost, substitutions 
for the means of expression which speech alone 
possesses — in other words, for gestures, accent, in- 
tonation, and look. Hence literary style is quite 
different from colloquial style, and far more difficult, 
because it has to make itself as intelligible as the 
latter with fewer accessaries. Demosthenes delivered 
his speeches differently from what we read ; he 


worked them up for reading purposes. — Cicero's 
speeches ought to be " demosthenised " with the 
same object, for at present they contain more of the 
Roman Forum than we can endure. 


Caution in Quotation. — Young authors do 
not know that a good expression or idea only looks 
well among its peers ; that an excellent quotation 
may spoil whole pages, nay the whole book ; for it 
seems to cry warningly to the reader, " Mark you, I 
am the precious stone, and round about me is lead 
— pale, worthless lead ! " Every word, every idea 
only desires to live in its own company — that is the 
moral of a choice style. 


How should Errors be Enunciated? — We 
may dispute whether it be more injurious for errors 
to be enunciated badly or as well as the best truths. 
It is certain that in the former case they are doubly 
harmful to the brain and are less easily removed 
from it. But, on the other hand, they are not so 
certain of effect as in the latter case. They are, in 
fact, less contagious. 


Limiting and Widening. — Homer limited and 
diminished the horizon of his subject, but allowed 
individual scenes to expand and blossom out. 
Later, the tragedians are constantly renewing this 
process. Each takes his material in ever smaller 
and smaller fragments than his predecessor did, but 


each attains a greater wealth of blooms within the 
narrow hedges of these sequestered garden en- 


Literature and Morality Mutually Ex- 
planatory. — We can show from Greek literature 
by what forces the Greek spirit developed, how it 
entered upon different channels, and where it be- 
came enfeebled. All this also depicts to us how 
Greek morality proceeded, and how all morality will 
proceed : how it was at first a constraint and dis- 
played cruelty, then became gradually milder ; how 
a pleasure in certain actions, in certain forms and 
conventions arose, and from this again a propensity 
for solitary exercise, for solitary possession ; how the 
track becomes crowded and overcrowded with com- 
petitors ; how satiety enters in, new objects of struggle 
and ambition are sought, and forgotten aims are 
awakened to life ; how the drama is repeated, and the 
spectators become altogether weary of looking on, 
because the whole gamut seems to have been run 
through — and then comes a stoppage, an expira- 
tion, and the rivulets are lost in the sand. The end, 
or at any rate an end, has come. 


What Landscapes give Permanent De- 
light. — Such and such a landscape has features 
eminently suited for painting, but I cannot find the 
formula for it ; it remains beyond my grasp as a 
whole. I notice that all landscapes which please 
me permanently have a simple geometrical scheme 


of lines underneath all their complexity. Without 
such a mathematical substratum no scenery be- 
comes artistically pleasing. Perhaps this rule may 
be applied symbolically to human beings. 


Reading Aloud. — The ability to read aloud 
involves of necessity the ability to declaim. Every- 
where we must apply pale tints, but we must deter- 
mine the degree of pallor in close relation to the 
richly and deeply coloured background, that always 
hovers before our eyes and acts as our guide — in 
other words, in accordance with the way in which 
we should declaim the same passages. That is why 
we must be able to declaim. 


The Dramatic Sense. — He who has not the 
four subtler senses of art tries to understand every- 
thing with the fifth sense, which is the coarsest of all 
— the dramatic sense. 


Herder. — Herder fails to be all that he made 
people think he was and himself wished to think he 
was. He was no great thinker or discoverer, no 
newly fertile soil with the unexhausted strength of a 
virgin forest. But he possessed in the highest degree 
the power of scenting the future, he saw and picked 
the first-fruits of the seasons earlier than all others, 
and they then believed that he had made them 
grow. Between darkness and light, youth and age, 


his mind was like a hunter on the watch, looking 
everywhere for transitions, depressions, convulsions, 
the outward and visible signs of internal growth. 
The unrest of spring drove him to and fro, but he 
was himself not the spring. — At times, indeed, he 
had some inkling of this, and yet would fain not 
have believed it — he, the ambitious priest, who 
would have so gladly been the intellectual pope of 
his epoch ! This is his despair. He seems to have 
lived long as a pretender to several kingdoms or 
even to a universal monarchy. He had his follow- 
ing which believed in him, among others the young 
Goethe. But whenever crowns were really distri- 
buted, he was passed over. Kant, Goethe, and then 
the first true German historians and scholars robbed 
him of what he thought he had reserved for himself 
(although in silence and secret he often thought the 
reverse). Just when he doubted in himself, he 
gladly clothed himself in dignity and enthusiasm : 
these were often in him mere garments, which had 
to hide a great deal and also to deceive and comfort 
him. He really had fire and enthusiasm, but his 
ambition was far greater ! It blew impatiently at 
the fire, which flickered, crackled, and smoked — his 
style flickers, crackles, and smokes — but he yearned 
for the great flame which never broke out. He did 
not sit at the table of the genuine creators, and his 
ambition did not admit of his sitting modestly 
among those who simply enjoy. Thus he was a 
restless spirit, the taster of all intellectual dishes, 
which were collected by the Germans from every 
quarter and every age in the course of half a century. 
Never really happy and satisfied, Herder was also 


too often ill, and then at times envy sat by his bed, 
and hypocrisy paid her visit as well. He always 
had an air of being scarred and crippled, and he 
lacked simple, stalwart manliness more completely 
than any of the so-called " classical writers." 


Scent of Words. — Every word has its scent ; 
there is a harmony and discord of scents, and so 
too of words. 


The Far-Fetched Style. — The natural style 
is an offence to the lover of the far-fetched style. 


A Vow. — I will never again read an author of 
whom one can suspect that he wanted to make a 
book, but only those writers whose thoughts un- 
expectedly became a book. 


The Artistic Convention. — Three-fourths of 
Homer is convention, and the same is the case with 
all the Greek artists, who had no reason for falling 
into the modern craze for originality. They had no 
fear of convention, for after all convention was a 
link between them and their public. Conventions 
are the artistic means acquired for the understand- 
ing of the hearer ; the common speech, learnt with 
much toil, whereby the artist can really communi- 
cate his ideas. All the more when he wishes, like 


the Greek poets and musicians, to conquer at once 
with each of his works (since he is accustomed to 
compete publicly with one or two rivals), the first 
condition is that he must be understood at once, 
and this is only possible by means of convention. 
What the artist devises beyond convention he offers 
of his own free will and takes a risk, his success at 
best resulting in the setting-up of a new conven- 
tion. As a rule originality is marvelled at, some- 
times even worshipped, but seldom understood. A 
stubborn avoidance of convention means a desire 
not to be understood. What, then, is the object of 
the modern craze for originality ? 


Artists' Affectation of Scientific Me- 
thod. — Schiller, like other German artists, fancied 
that if a man had intellect he was entitled to impro- 
vise even with the pen on all difficult subjects. So 
there we see his prose essays — in every way a model 
of how not to attack scientific questions of aesthetics 
and ethics, and a danger for young readers who, in 
their admiration for Schiller the poet, have not the 
courage to think meanly of Schiller the thinker and 
author. — The temptation to traverse for once the 
forbidden paths, and to have his say in science as 
well, is easy and pardonable in the artist. For 
even the ablest artist from time to time finds his 
handicraft and his workshop unendurable. This 
temptation is so strong that it makes the artist show 
all the world what no one wishes to see, that his little 
chamber of thought is cramped and untidy. Why 


not, indeed ? He does not live there. He proceeds 
to show that the storeroom of his knowledge is 
partly empty, partly filled with lumber. Why not, 
indeed? This condition does not really become 
the artist-child badly. In particular, the artist 
shows that for the very easiest exercises of scientific 
method, which are accessible even to beginners, his 
joints are too stiff and untrained. Even of that he 
need not really be ashamed ! On the other hand, 
he often develops no mean art in imitating all the 
mistakes, vices, and base pedantries that are prac- 
tised in the scientific community, in the belief that 
these belong to the appearance of the thing, if not to 
the thing itself. This is the very point that is so 
amusing in artists' writing, that the artist involun- 
tarily acts as his vocation demands : he parodies 
the scientific and inartistic natures. Towards science 
he should show no attitude but that of parody, in 
so far as he is an artist and only an artist. 


The Faust-Idea. — A little sempstress is se- 
duced and plunged into despair : a great scholar of 
all the four Faculties is the evil-doer. That cannot 
have happened in the ordinary course, surely ? No, 
certainly not ! Without the aid of the devil incar- 
nate, the great scholar would never have achieved 
the deed. — Is this really destined to be the greatest 
German " tragic idea," as one hears it said among 
Germans ? — But for Goethe even this idea was too 
terrible. His kind heart could not avoid placing 
the little sempstress, "the good soul that forgot 

VOL. 11. R 


itself but once," near to the saints, after her involun- 
tary death. Even the great scholar, "the good 
man " with " the dark impulse," is brought into 
heaven in the nick of time, by a trick which is 
played upon the devil at the decisive moment. In 
heaven the lovers find themselves again. Goethe 
once said that his nature was too conciliatory for 
really tragic subjects. 


Are there "German Classics " ?— Sainte- 
Beuve observes somewhere that the word " classic " 
does not suit the genius of certain literatures. For 
instance, nobody could talk seriously of " German 
classics." — What do our German publishers, who 
are about to add fifty more to the fifty German 
classics we are told to accept, say to that ? Does 
it not almost seem as if one need only have been 
dead for the last thirty years, and lie a lawful prey 
to the public,* in order to hear suddenly and unex- 
pectedly the trumpet of resurrection as a " Classic " ? 
And this in an age and a nation where at least five 
out of the six great fathers of its literature are un- 
doubtedly antiquated orbecomingantiquated — with- 
out there being any need for the age or the nation to 
be ashamed of this. For those writers have given 
way before the strength of our time — let that be con- 
sidered in all fairness ! — Goethe, as I have indicated, 
I do not include. He belongs to a higher species 
than " national literatures " : hence life, revival. 

* The German copyright expires thirty years after publica- 
tion. — Tr. 


and decay do not enter into the reckoning in his 
relations with his countrymen. He lived and now 
lives but for the few ; for the majority he is nothing 
but a flourish of vanity which is trumpeted from 
time to time across the border into foreign ears. 
Goethe, not merely a great and good man, but a 
culture, is in German history an interlude without a 
sequel. Who, for instance, would be able to point 
to any trace of Goethe's influence in German politics 
of the last seventy years (whereas the influence, 
certainly of Schiller, and perhaps of Lessing, can be 
traced in the political world ) ? But what of those 
five others ? Klopstock, in a most honourable way, 
became out of date even in his own lifetime, and so 
completely that the meditative book of his later 
years, The Republic of Learning, has never been 
taken seriously from that day to this. Herder's 
misfortune was that his writings were always either 
new or antiquated. Thus for stronger and more 
subtle minds (like Lichtenberg) even Herder's 
masterpiece, his Ideas for the History of Mankind, 
was in a way antiquated at the very moment of its 
appearance. Wieland, who lived to the full and 
made others live likewise, was clever enough to 
anticipate by death the waning of his influence. 
Lessing, perhaps, still lives to-day — but among a 
young and ever younger band of scholars. Schiller 
has fallen from the hands of young men into those 
of boys, of all German boys. It is a well-known 
sign of obsolescence when a book descends to 
people of less and less mature age. — Well, what is 
it that has thrust these five into the background, 
so that well-educated men of affairs no longer read 


them ? A better taste, a riper knowledge, a higher 
reverence for the real and the true : in other words, 
the very virtues which these five (and ten or twenty 
others of lesser repute) first re-planted in Germany, 
and which now, like a mighty forest, cast over their 
graves not only the shadow of awe, but something 
of the shadow of oblivion. — But classical writers 
are not planters of intellectual and literary virtues. 
They bring those virtues to perfection and are their 
highest luminous peaks, and being brighter, freer, 
and purer than all that surrounds them, they remain 
shining above the nations when the nations them- 
selves perish. There may come an elevated stage 
of humanity, in which the Europe of the peoples 
is a dark, forgotten thing, but Europe lives on in 
thirty books, very old but never antiquated — in the 


Interesting, but not Beautiful. — This 
countryside conceals its meaning, but it has one 
that we should like to guess. Everywhere that I 
look, I read words and hints of words, but I do not 
know where begins the sentence that solves the 
riddle of all these hints. So I get a stiff neck in 
trying to discover whether I should start reading 
from this or that point. 


Against Innovators in Language. — The use 
of neologisms or archaisms, the preference for the 
rare and the bizarre, the attempt to enrich rather 
than to limit the vocabulary, are always signs either 


of an immature or of a corrupted taste. A noble 
poverty but a masterly freedom within the limits of 
that modest wealth distinguishes the Greek artists 
in oratory. They wish to have less than the people 
has — for the people is richest in old and new — but 
they wish to have that little better. The reckoning 
up of their archaic and exotic forms is soon done, 
but we never cease marvelling if we have an eye 
for their light and delicate manner in handling the 
commonplace and apparently longoutworn elements 
in word and phrase. 


Gloomy and Serious Authors. — He who 
commits his sufferings to paper becomes a gloomy 
author, but he becomes a serious one if he tells us 
what he has suffered and why he is now enjoying a 
pleasurable repose. 


Healthiness of Taste.— How is it that health 
is less contagious than disease — generally, and par- 
ticularly in matters of taste ? Or are there epidemics 
of health ? 


A Resolution. — Never again to read a book 
that is born and christened (with ink) at the same 

Improving our Ideas. — Improving our style 
means improving our ideas, and nothing else. He 


who does not at once concede this can never be 
convinced of the point. 


Classical Books. — The weakest point in every 
classical book is that it is written too much in the 
mother tongue of its author. 

BAD BOOKS. — The book should demand pen, ink, 
and desk, but usually it is pen, ink, and desk that 
demand the book. That is why books are of so little 
account at present. 

Presence of Sense.— When the public reflects 
on paintings, it becomes a poet ; when on poems, 
an investigator. At the moment when the artist 
summons it it is always lacking in the right sense, 
and accordingly in presence of sense, not in pre- 
sence of mind. 

Choice Ideas. — The choice style of a momentous 
period does not only select its words but its ideas— 
and both from the customary and prevailing usage. 
Venturesome ideas, that smell too fresh, are to the 
maturer taste no less repugnant than new and reck- 
less images and phrases. Later on both choice 
ideas and choice words soon smack of mediocrity, 
because the scent of the choice vanishes quickly, and 
then nothing but the customary and commonplace 
element is tasted. 


Main Reason for Corruption of Style. — 
The desire to display more sentiment than one 
really feels for a thing corrupts style, in language 
and in all art. All great art shows rather the 
opposite tendency. Like every man of moral 
significance, it loves to check emotion on its way 
and not let it run its course to the very end. This 
modesty of letting emotion but half appear is most 
charly to be observed, for example, in Sophocles. 
The features of sentiment seem to become beautified 
vmen sentiment feigns to be more shy than it 
really is. 

An Excuse for the Heavy Style. — The 
lightly uttered phrase seldom falls on the ear with 
the full weight of the subject. This is, however, due 
to the bad training of the ear, which by education 
must pass from what has hitherto been called music 
to the school of the higher harmony — in other words, 
to conversation. 


Bird's-Eye Views. — Here torrents rush from 
every side into a ravine : their movement is so swift 
and stormy, and carries the eye along so quickly, 
that the bare or wooded mountain slopes around 
seem not to sink down but to fly down. We are in 
an agonised tension at the sight, as if behind all 
this were hidden some hostile element, before which 
all must fly, and against which the abyss alone gave 
protection. This landscape cannot be painted, un- 


less we hover above it like a bird in the open air. 
Here for once the so-called bird's-eye view is not an 
artistic caprice, but the sole possibility. 


Rash Comparisons. — If rash comparisons are 
not proofs of the wantonness of the writer, they are 
proofs of the exhaustion of his imagination. In any 
case they bear witness to his bad taste. 


Dancing in Chains. — In the case of ever/ 
Greek artist, poet, or writer we must ask : What is 
the new constraint which he imposes upon himself 
and makes attractive to his contemporaries, so as to 
find imitators ? For the thing called " invention " 
(in metre, for example) is always a self-imposed 
fetter of this kind. " Dancing in chains " — to make 
that hard for themselves and then to spread a false 
notion that it is easy — that is the trick that they 
wish to show us. Even in Homer we may perceive 
a wealth of inherited formulae and laws of epic 
narration, within the circle of which he had to dance, 
and he himself created new conventions for them 
that came after. This was the discipline of the 
Greek poets: first to impose upon themselves a 
manifold constraint by means of the earlier poets ; 
then to invent in addition a new constraint, to im- 
pose it upon themselves and cheerfully to overcome 
it, so that constraint and victory are perceived and 


Authors' Copiousness. — The last quality that 
a good author acquires is copiousness : whoever has 
it to begin with will never become a good author. 
The noblest racehorses are lean until they are per- 
mitted to rest from their victories. 


Wheezing Heroes. — Poets and artists who suffer 
from a narrow chest of the emotions generally make 
their heroes wheeze. They do not know what easy 
breathing means. 

The Short-Sighted.*— The short-sighted are 
the deadly foes of all authors who let themselves go. 
These authors should know the wrath with which 
these people shut the book in which they observe 
that its creator needs fifty pages to express five 
ideas. And the cause of their wrath is that they 
have endangered what remains of their vision almost 
without compensation. A short-sighted person 
said, " All authors let themselves go." " Even the 
HolyGhost?" "Even the Holy Ghost." But he had 
a right to, for he wrote for those who had lost their 
sight altogether. 


The Style of Immortality. — Thucydides and 
Tacitus both imagined immortal, life for their works 
when they executed them. That might be guessed 

* Nietzsche himself was extremely short-sighted — Tr. 


(if not known otherwise) from their style. The one 
thought to give permanence to his ideas by salting 
them, the other by boiling them down ; and neither, 
it seems, made a miscalculation. 


Against Images and Similes. — By images and 
similes we convince, but we do not prove. That is 
why science has such a horror of images and similes. 
Science does not want to convince or make plausible, 
and rather seeks to provoke cold distrust by its mode 
of expression, by the bareness of its walls. For 
distrust is the touchstone for the gold of certainty. 


CAUTION. — In Germany, he who lacks thorough 
knowledge should beware of writing. The good 
German does not say in that case " he is ignorant," 
but " he is of doubtful character." — This hasty con- 
clusion, by the way, does great credit to the Ger- 


Painted Skeletons. — Painted skeletons are 
those authors who try to make up for their want of 
flesh by artistic colourings. 


The Grand Style and Something Better. 
— It is easier to learn how to write the grand style 
than how to write easily and simply. The reasons 
for this are inextricably bound up with morality. 


Sebastian Bach. — In so far as we do not hear 
Bach's music as perfect and experienced connois- 
seurs of counterpoint and all the varieties of thefugal 
style (and accordingly must dispense with real artistic 
enjoyment), we shall feel in listening to his music 
— in Goethe's magnificent phrase — as if "we were 
present at God's creation of the world." In other 
words, we feel here that something great is in the 
makingbut not yet made — our mighty modern music, 
which by conquering nationalities, the Church, and 
counterpoint has conquered the world. In Bach 
there is still too much crude Christianity, crude 
Germanism, crude scholasticism. He stands on 
the threshold of modern European music, but turns 
from thence to look at the Middle Ages. 


HANDEL. — Handel, who in the invention of his 
music was bold, original, truthful, powerful, inclined 
to and akin to all the heroism of which a nation is 
capable, often proved stiff, cold, nay even weary of 
himself in composition. He applied a few well-tried 
methods of execution, wrote copiously and quickly, 
and was glad when he had finished — but that joy 
was not the joy of God and other creators in the 
eventide of their working day. 


Haydn. — So far as genius can exist in a man 
who is merely good, Haydn had genius. He went 


just as far as the limit which morality sets to in- 
tellect, and only wrote music that has " no past." 


Beethoven and Mozart. — Beethoven's music 
often appears like a deeply emotional meditation 
on unexpectedly hearing once more a piece long 
thought to be forgotten, "Tonal Innocence": it is 
music about music. In the song of the beggar and 
child in the street, in the monotonous airs of vagrant 
Italians, in the dance of the village inn or in carnival 
nights he discovers his melodies. He stores them 
together like a bee, snatching here and there some 
notes or a short phrase. To him these are hallowed 
memories of " the better world," like the ideas of 
Plato. — Mozart stands in quite a different relation 
to his melodies. He finds his inspiration not in 
hearing music but in gazing at life, at the most 
stirring life of southern lands. He was always 
dreaming of Italy, when he was not there. 

Recitative. — Formerly recitative was dry, but 
now we live in the age of moist recitative. It has 
fallen into the water, and the waves carry it whither- 
soever they list. 


"Cheerful" Music. — If for a long time we 

have heard no music, it then goes like a heavy 

southern wine all too quickly into the blood and 

leaves behind it a soul dazed with narcotics, half- 


awake, longing for sleep. This is particularly the 
case with cheerful music, which inspires in us bit- 
terness and pain, satiety and home-sickness to- 
gether, and forces us to sip again and again as at 
a sweetened draught of poison. The hall of gay, 
noisy merriment then* seems to grow narrow, the 
light to lose its brightness and become browner. 
At last we feel as if this music were penetrating 
to a prison where a poor wretch cannot sleep for 

Franz Schubert. — Franz Schubert, inferior as 
an artist to the other great musicians, had never- 
theless the largest share of inherited musical wealth. 
He spent it with a free hand and a kind heart, so 
that for a few centuries musicians will continue to 
nibble at his ideas and inspirations. In his works 
we find a store of unused inventions ; the greatness 
of others will lie in making use of those inventions. 
If Beethoven may be called the ideal listener for 
a troubadour, Schubert has a right to be called the 
ideal troubadour. 

1 5 6. 

Modern Musical Execution.— Great tragic 
or dramatic execution of music acquires its character 
by imitating the gesture of the great sinner, such 
as Christianity conceives and desires him : the slow- 
stepping, passionately brooding man, distracted by 
the agonies of conscience, now flying in terror, 
now clutching with delight, now standing still in 
despair — and all the other marks of great sinful- 


ness. Only on the Christian assumption that all 
men are great sinners and do nothing but sin could 
we justify the application of this style of execution 
to all music. So far, music would be the reflection 
of all the actions and impulses of man, and would 
continually have to express by gestures the lan- 
guage of the great sinner. At such a performance, 
a listener who was not enough of a Christian to 
understand this logic might indeed cry out in hor- 
ror, " For the love of Heaven, how did sin find its 
way into music ? " 


Felix Mendelssohn.— Felix Mendelssohn's 
music is the music of the good taste that enjoys 
all the good things that have ever existed. It 
always points behind. How could it have much 
"in front," much of a future? — But did he want 
it to have a future? He possessed a virtue rare 
among artists, that of gratitude without arrih'e- 
pense'e. This virtue, too, always points behind. 


A Mother of Arts. — In our sceptical age, real 
devotion requires almost a brutal heroism of am- 
bition. Fanatical shutting of the eyes and bending 
of the knee no longer suffice. Would it not be pos- 
sible for ambition — in its eagerness to be the last 
devotee of all the ages — to become the begetter of a 
final church music, as it has been the begetter of the 
final church architecture ? (They call it the Jesuit 


Freedom in Fetters— a Princely Freedom. 
— Chopin, the last of the modern musicians, who 
gazed at and worshipped beauty, like Leopardi; 
Chopin, the Pole, the inimitable (none that came 
before or after him has a right to this name) — 
Chopin had the same princely punctilio in conven- 
tion that Raphael shows in the use of the simplest 
traditional colours. The only difference is that 
Chopin applies them not to colour but to melodic 
and rhythmic traditions. He admitted the validity 
of these traditions because he was born under the 
sway of etiquette. But in these fetters he plays and 
dances as the freest and daintiest of spirits, and, be 
it observed, he does not spurn the chain. 


Chopin's Barcarolle. — Almost all states and 
modes of life have a moment of rapture, and good 
artists know how to discover that moment. Such 
a moment there is even in life by the seashore — that 
dreary, sordid, unhealthy existence, dragged out in 
the neighbourhood of a noisy and covetous rabble. 
This moment of rapture Chopin in his Barcarolle 
expressed in sound so supremely that Gods them- 
selves, when they heard it, might yearn to lie long 
summer evenings in a boat. 


Robert Schumann. — "The Stripling," as the 
romantic songsters of Germany and France of the 


first three decades of this century imagined him — 
this stripling was completely translated into song 
and melody by Robert Schumann, the eternal 
youth, so long as he felt himself in full possession 
of his powers. There are indeed moments when 
his music reminds one of the eternal " old maid." 


Dramatic Singers. — "Why does this beggar 
sing? " " Probably he does not know how to wail." 
" Then he does right." But our dramatic singers, 
who wail because they do not know how to sing 
— are they also in the right ? 


Dramatic Music. — For him who does not see 
what is happening on the stage, dramatic music is 
a monstrosity, just as the running commentary to 
a lost text is a monstrosity. Such music requires 
us to have ears where our eyes are. This, however, 
is doing violence to Euterpe, who, poor Muse, wants 
to have her eyes and ears where the other Muses 
have theirs. 


Victory and Reasonableness. — Unfortu- 
nately in the aesthetic wars, which artists provoke 
by their works and apologias for their works, just as 
is the case in real war, it is might and not reason that 
decides. All the world now assumes as a historical 
fact that, in his dispute with Piccini, Gluckwas in the 
right. At any rate, he was victorious, and had might 
on his side. 


Of the Principle of Musical Execution. — 
Do the modern musical performers really believe 
that the supreme law of their art is to give every 
piece as much high-relief as is possible, and to make 
it speak at all costs a dramatic language? Is not 
this principle, when applied for example to Mozart, 
a veritable sin against the spirit — the gay, sunny, 
airy, delicate spirit — of Mozart, whose seriousness 
was of a kindly and not awe-inspiring order, whose 
pictures do not try to leap from the wall and drive 
away the beholder in panic ? Or do you think that 
all Mozart's music is identical with the statue-music 
in Don Juan} And not only Mozart's, but all 
music? — You reply that the advantage of your 
principle lies in its greater effect. You would be 
right if there did not remain the counter-question, 
" On whom has the effect operated, and on whom 
should an artist of the first rank desire to produce 
his effect ? " Never on the populace ! Never on 
the immature ! Never on the morbidly sensitive ! 
Never on the diseased ! And above all — never on 
the blase \ 


The Music of To -Day.— This ultra-modern 
music, with its strong lungs and weak nerves, is 
frightened above all things of itself. 


Where Music is at Home.— Music reaches its 
high-water mark only among men who have not the 
vol. 11. S 


ability or the right to argue. Accordingly, its chief 
promoters are princes, whose aim is that there should 
be not much criticism nor even much thought in 
their neighbourhood. Next come societies which, 
under some pressure or other (political or religious), 
are forced to become habituated to silence, and 
so feel all the greater need of spells to charm away 
emotional ennui — these spells being generally eternal 
love-making and eternal music. Thirdly, we must 
reckon whole nations in which there is no " society," 
but all the greater number of individuals with a 
bent towards solitude, mystical thinking, and a re- 
verence for all that is inexpressible ; these are the 
genuine " musical souls." The Greeks, as a nation 
delighting in talking and argument, accordingly put 
up with music only as an hors d'ceuvre to those arts 
which really admit of discussion and dispute. About 
music one can hardly even think clearly. The Py- 
thagoreans, who in so many respects were exceptional 
Greeks, are said to have been great musicians. This 
was the school that invented a five-years' silence,* 
but did not invent a dialectic. 


Sentimentality in Music. — We may be ever 
so much in sympathy with serious and profound 
music, yet nevertheless, or perhaps all the more for 
that reason, we shall at occasional moments be over- 
powered, entranced, and almost melted away by its 

* In the sixth century B.C. Pythagoras founded at Croton a 
" school " somewhat resembling a monastic order. Among the 
ordeals for novitiates was enforced silence for five years. — Tr. 


opposite — I mean, by those simple Italian operatic 
airs which, in spite of all their monotony of rhythm 
and childishness of harmony, seem at times to sing 
to us like the very soul of music. Admit this or not 
as you please, you Pharisees of good taste, it is so, 
and it is my present task to propound the riddle 
that it is so, and to nibble a little myself at the 
solution. — In childhood's days we tasted the honey 
of many things for the first time. Never was honey 
so good as then ; it seduced us to life, into abundant 
life, in the guise of the first spring, the first flower, 
the first butterfly, the first friendship. Then — per- 
haps in our ninth year or so — we heard our first 
music, and this was the first that we understood ; 
thus the simplest and most childish tunes, that were 
not much more than a sequel to the nurse's lullaby 
and the strolling fiddler's tune, were our first experi- 
ence. (For even the most trifling " revelations " of 
art need preparation and study ; there is no " im- 
mediate" effect of art, whatever charming fables 
the philosophers may tell.) Our sensation on hear- 
ing these Italian airs is associated with those first 
musical raptures, the strongest of our lives. The 
bliss of childhood and its flight, the feeling that our 
most precious possession can never be brought back, 
all this moves the chords of the soul more strongly 
than the most serious and profound music can move 
them. — This mingling of aesthetic pleasure with moral 
pain, which nowadays it is customary to call (rather 
too haughtily, I think) " sentimentality " — it is the 
mood of Faust at the end of the first scene — this 
" sentimentality " of the listener is all to the advan- 
tage of Italian music. It is a feeling which the ex- 


perienced connoisseurs in art, the pure "aesthetes," like 
to ignore. — Moreover, almost all music has a magical 
effect only when we hear it speak the language of 
our own past. Accordingly, it seems to the layman 
that all the old music is continually growing better, 
and that all the latest is of little value. For the latter 
arouses no " sentimentality," that most essential 
element of happiness, as aforesaid, for every man 
who cannot approach this art with pure aesthetic 


As Friends of Music. — Ultimately we are and 
remain good friends with music, as we are with the 
light of the moon. Neither, after all, tries to sup- 
plant the sun : they only want to illumine our nights 
to the best of their powers. Yet we may jest and 
laugh at them, may we not ? Just a little, at least, 
and from time to time ? At the man in the moon, 
at the woman in the music ? 


Art in an Age of Work. — We have the con- 
science of an industrious epoch. This debars us 
from devoting our best hours and the best part 
of our days to art, even though that art be the 
greatest and worthiest. Art is for us a matter of 
leisure, of recreation, and we consecrate to it the 
residue of our time and strength. This is the car- 
dinal fact that has altered the relation of art to life. 
When art makes its great demands of time and 
strength upon its recipients, it has to battle against 
the conscience of the industrious and efficient, it is 


relegated to the idle and conscienceless, who, by 
their very nature, are not exactly suited to great 
art, and consider its claims arrogant. It might, 
therefore, be all over with art, since it lacks air and 
the power to breathe. But perhaps the great art 
attempts, by a sort of coarsening and disguising, to 
make itself at home in that other atmosphere, or at 
least to put up with it — an atmosphere which is really 
a natural element only for petty art, the art of re- 
creation, of pleasant distraction. This happens now- 
adays almost everywhere. Even the exponents of 
great art promise recreation and distraction ; even 
they address themselves to the exhausted ; even they 
demand from him the evening hours of his working- 
day — just like the artists of the entertaining school, 
who are content to smooth the furrowed brow and 
brighten the lack-lustre eye. What, then, are the 
devices of their mightier brethren ? These have in 
their medicine-chests the most powerful excitants, 
which might give a shock even to a man half-dead : 
they can deafen you, intoxicate you, make you 
shudder, or bring tears to your eyes. By this 
means they overpower the exhausted man and 
stimulate him for one night to an over-lively con- 
dition, to an ecstasy of terror and delight. This 
great art, as it now lives in opera, tragedy, and music 
— have we a right to be angry with it, because of 
its perilous fascination, as we should be angry with 
a cunning courtesan ? Certainly not. It would far 
rather live in the pure element of morning calm, and 
would far rather make its appeal to the fresh, ex- 
pectant, vigorous morning-soul of the beholder or 
listener. Let us be thankful that it prefers living 


thus to vanishing altogether. But let us also con- 
fess that an era that once more introduces free and 
complete high-days and holidays into life will have 
no use for our great art. 

The Employees of Science and the Others. 
— Really efficient and successful men of science might 
be collectively called " The Employees." If in youth 
theiracumen is sufficiently practised, their memoryis 
full, and hand and eye have acquired sureness, they 
are appointed by an older fellow-craftsman to a 
scientific position where their qualities may prove 
useful. Later on, when they have themselves gained 
an eye for the gaps and defects in their science, they 
place themselves in whatever position they are needed . 
These persons all exist for the sake of science. But 
there are rarer spirits, spirits that seldom succeed 
or fully mature — " for whose sake science exists " 
— at least, in their view. They are often unpleasant, 
conceited, or cross-grained men, but almost always 
prodigies to a certain extent. They are neither 
employees nor employers; they make use of what 
those others have worked out and established, 
with a certain princely carelessness and with little 
and rare praise — just as if the others belonged 
to a lower order of beings. Yet they possess 
the same qualities as their fellow-workers, and 
that sometimes in a less developed form. More- 
over, they have a peculiar limitation, from which 
the others are free; this makes it impossible to 
put them into a place and to see in them useful 
tools. They can only live in their own air and on 


their own soil. This limitation suggests to them 
what elements of a science " are theirs n — in other 
words, what they can carry home into their house 
and atmosphere : they think that they are always 
collecting their scattered "property." If they are 
prevented from building at their own nest, they 
perish like shelterless birds. The loss of freedom 
causes them to wilt away. If they show, like their 
colleagues, a fondness for certain regions of science, 
it is always only regions where the fruits and seeds 
necessary to them can thrive. What do they care 
whether science, taken as a whole, has untilled or 
badly tilled regions? They lack all impersonal 
interest in a scientific problem. As they are them- 
selves personal through and through, all their know- 
ledge and ideas are remoulded into a person, into 
a living complexity, with its parts interdependent, 
overlapping, jointly nurtured, and with a peculiar 
atmosphere and scent as a whole. — Such natures, 
with their system of personal knowledge, produce 
the illusion that a science (or even the whole of 
philosophy) is finished and has reached its goal. 
The life in their system works this magic, which at 
times has been fatal to science and deceptive to the 
really efficient workers above described, and at other 
times, when drought and exhaustion prevailed, has 
acted as a kind of restorative, as if it were the air 
of a cool, refreshing resting-place. — These men are 
usually called philosophers. 

Recognition of Talent. — As I went through 
the village of S., a boy began to crack his whip with 


all his might— he had made great progress in this art, 
and he knew it. I threw him a look of recognition 
— in reality it hurt me cruelly. We do the same in 
our recognition of many of the talents. We do good 
to them when they hurt us. 

Laughing and Smiling.— The more joyful and 
assured the mind becomes, the more man loses the 
habit of loud laughter. In compensation, there is 
an intellectual smile continually bubbling up in him, 
a sign of his astonishment at the innumerable con- 
cealed delights of a good existence. 

The Talk of Invalids.— Just as in spiritual 
grief we tear our hair, strike our foreheads, lacerate 
our cheeks or even (like GEdipus) gouge our eyes 
out, so against violent physical pain we call to our 
aid a bitter, violent emotion, through the recollec- 
tion of slanderous and malignant people, through 
the denigration of our future, through the sword - 
pricks and acts of malice which we mentally direct 
against the absent. And at times it is true that 
one devil drives out another — but then we have the 
other. — Hence a different sort of talk, tending to 
alleviate pain, should be recommended invalids : 
reflections upon the kindnesses and courtesies that 
can be performed towards friend and foe. 

Mediocrity as a Mask. — Mediocrity is the 
happiest mask which the superior mind can wear, 


because it does not lead the great majority — that 
is, the mediocre — to think that there is any disguise. 
Yet the superior mind assumes the mask just for 
their sake — so as not to irritate them, nay, often 
from a feeling of pity and kindness. 


The Patient. — The pine tree seems to listen, 
the fir tree to wait, and both without impatience. 
They do not give a thought to the petty human 
being below who is consumed by his impatience 
and his curiosity. 


The Best Joker. — My favourite joke is the one 
that takes the place of a heavy and rather hesitat- 
ing idea, and that at once beckons with its finger 
and winks its eye. 


The Accessaries of all Reverence. — Wher- 
ever the past is revered, the over-cleanly and over- 
tidy people should not be admitted. Piety does not 
feel content without a little dust, dirt, and dross. 


The Great Danger of Savants. — It is just 
the most thorough and profound savants who are 
in peril of seeing their life's goal set ever lower 
and lower, and, with a feeling of this in their minds, 
to become ever more discouraged and more unen- 
durable in the latter half of their lives. At first they 
plunge into their science with spacious hopes and 
set themselves daring tasks, the ends of which are 


already anticipated by their imaginations. Then 
there are moments as in the lives of the great 
maritime discoverers — knowledge, presentiment, and 
power raise each other higher and higher, until a new 
shore first dawns upon the eye in the far distance. 
But now the stern man recognises more and more 
how important it is that the individual task of the 
inquirer should be limited as far as possible, so 
that it may be entirely accomplished and the in- 
tolerable waste of force from which earlier periods 
of science suffered may be avoided. In those days 
everything was done ten times over, and then the 
eleventh always had the last and best word. Yet 
the more the savant learns and practises this art of 
solving riddles in their entirety, the more pleasure 
he finds in so doing. But at the same time his de- 
mands upon what is here called "entirety" grow 
more exacting. He sets aside everything that must 
remain in this sense incomplete, he acquires a dis- 
gust and an acute scent for the half-soluble — for 
all that can only give a kind of certainty in a 
general and indefinite form. His youthful plans 
crumble away before his eyes. There remains 
scarcely anything but a few little knots, in unty- 
ing which the master now takes his pleasure and 
shows his strength. Then, in the midst of all this 
useful, restless activity, he, now grown old, is sud- 
denly then often overcome by a deep misgiving, a 
sort of torment of conscience. He looks upon 
himself as one changed, as if he were diminished, 
humbled, transformed into a dexterous dwarf \ he 
grows anxious as to whether mastery in small 
matters be not a convenience, an escape from the 


summons to greatness in lifeand form. But he can- 
not pass beyond any longer — the time for that has 
gone by. 


Teachers in the Age of Books. — Now that 
self-education and mutual education are becoming 
more widespread, the teacher in his usual form must 
become almost unnecessary. Friends eager to learn, 
who wish to master some branch of knowledge to- 
gether, find in our age of books a shorter and more 
natural way than " school " and " teachers." 


Vanity as the Greatest Utility.— Origin- 
ally the strong individual uses not only Nature but 
even societies and weaker individuals as objects of 
rapine. He exploits them, so far as he can, and 
then passes on. As he lives from hand to mouth, 
alternating between hunger and superfluity, he kills 
more animals than he can eat, and robs and mal- 
treats men more than is necessary. His manifesta- 
tion of power is at the same time one of revenge 
against his cramped and worried existence. Further- 
more, he wishes to be held more powerful than he 
is, and thus misuses opportunities ; the accretion of 
fear that he begets being an accretion of power. He 
soon observes that he stands or falls not by what 
he is but by what he is thought to be. Herein lies 
the origin of vanity. The man of power seeks by 
every means to increase others' faith in his power. — 
The thralls who tremble before him and serve him 
know, for their part, that they are worth just so 


much as they appear to him to be worth, and so 
they work with an eye to this valuation rather than 
to their own self-satisfaction. We know vanity only 
in its most weakened forms, in its idealisations and 
its small doses, because we live in a late and very 
emasculated state of society. Originally vanity is the 
great utility, the strongest means of preservation. 
And indeed vanity will be greater, the cleverer the 
individual, because an increase in the belief in power 
is easier than an increase in the power itself, but 
only for him who has intellect or (as must be the 
case under primitive conditions) who is cunning and 

Weather-Signs of Culture. — There are so 
few decisive weather-signs of culture that we must 
be glad to have at least one unfailing sign at hand 
for use in house and garden. To test whether a 
man belongs to us (I mean to the free spirits) or 
not, we must test his sentiments regarding Christi- 
anity. If he looks upon Christianity with other than 
a critical eye, we turn our backs to him, for he brings 
us impure air and bad weather. — It is no longer our 
task to teach such men what a sirocco wind is. They 
have Moses and the prophets of weather and of 
enlightenment* If they will not listen to these, 

There is a Proper Time for Wrath and 
Punishment. — Wrath and punishment are our in- 

* In the German Aufkl'driing there is a play on the sense 
" clearing up " (of weather) and " enlightenment." — Tr. 

iH on 


heritance from the animals. Man does not become 
of age until he has restored to the animals this gift 
of the cradle. — Herein lies buriedoneof themightiest 
ideas that men can have, the idea of a progress of 
all progresses. — Let us go forward together a few 
millenniums, my friends ! There is still reserved for 
mankind a great deal of joy, the very scent of which 
has not yet been wafted to the men of our day ! 
Indeed, we may promise ourselves this joy, nay 
summon and conjure it up as a necessary thing, so 
long as the development of human reason does not 
stand still. Some day we shall no longer be recon- 
ciled to the logical sin that lurks in all wrath and 
punishment, whether exercised by the individual or 
by society — some day, when head and heart have 
learnt to live as near together as they now are far 
apart. That they no longer stand so far apart as 
they did originally is fairly palpable from a glance 
at the whole course of humanity. The individual 
who can review a life of introspective work will be- 
come conscious of the rapprochement arrived at, with 
a proud delight at the distance he has bridged, in 
order that he may thereupon venture upon more 
ample hopes. 


Origin of Pessimists.— A snack of good food 
often decides whether we are to look to the future 
with hollow eye or in hopeful mood. The same 
influence extends to the very highest and most 
intellectual states. Discontent and reviling of the 
world are for the present generation an inheritance 
from starveling ancestors. Even in our artists and 


poets we often notice that, however exuberant their 
life, they are not of good birth, and have often, from 
oppressed and ill-nourished ancestors, inherited in 
their blood and brain much that comes out as the 
subject and even the conscious colouring of their 
work. The culture of the Greeks is a culture of men 
of wealth, in fact, inherited wealth. For a few centuries 
they lived better than we do (better in every sense, 
in particular far more simply in food and drink). 
Then the brain finally became so well-stored and 
subtle, and the blood flowed so quickly, like a joyous, 
clear wine, that the best in them came to light no 
longer as gloomy, distorted, and violent, but full of 
beauty and sunshine. 


Of Reasonable Death. — Which is more reason- 
able, to stop the machine when the works have done 
the task demanded of them, or to let it run on until 
it stands still of its own accord — in other words, is 
destroyed ? Is not the latter a waste of the cost of 
upkeep, a misuse of the strength and care of those 
who serve? Are men not here throwing away that 
which would be sorely needed elsewhere ? Is not a 
kind of contempt of the machines propagated, in that 
many of them are so uselessly tended and kept up? — 
I am speaking of involuntary (natural) and voluntary 
(reasonable) death. Natural death is independent 
of all reason and is really an irrational death, in 
which the pitiable substance of the shell determines 
how long the kernel is to exist or not ; in which, 
accordingly, the stunted, diseased and dull-witted 


jailer is lord, and indicates the moment at which 
his distinguished prisoner shall die. Natural death 
is the suicide of nature — in other words, the annihi- 
lation of the most rational being through the most 
irrational element that is attached thereto. Only 
through religious illumination can the reverse ap- 
pear; for then, as is equitable, the higher reason 
(God) issues its orders, which the lower reason has 
to obey. Outside religious thought natural death 
is not worth glorifying. The wise dispensation and 
disposal of death belongs to that now quite incom- 
prehensible and immoral-sounding morality of the 
future, the dawn of which it will be an ineffable de- 
light to behold. 


Retrograde Influences.— All criminals force 
society back to earlier stages of culture than that 
in which they are placed for the time being. Their 
influence is retrograde. Let us consider the tools 
that society must forge and maintain for its defence: 
the cunning detectives, the jailers, the hangmen. 
Nor should we forget the public counsel for pro- 
secution and defence. Finally we may ask our- 
selves whether the judge himself and punishment 
and the whole legal procedure are not oppressive 
rather than elevating in their reaction upon all who 
are not law-breakers. For we shall never succeed 
in arraying self-defence and revenge in the garb of 
innocence, and so long as men are used and sacri- 
ficed as a means to the end of society, all loftier 
humanity will deplore this necessity. 


I8 7 . 
War as a Remedy. — For nations that are grow- 
ing weak and contemptible war may be prescribed 
as a remedy, if indeed they really want to go on 
living. National consumption as well as individual 
admits of a brutal cure. The eternal will to live 
and inability to die is, however, in itself already a 
sign of senility of emotion. The more fully and 
thoroughly we live, the more ready we are to sacri- 
fice life for a single pleasurable emotion. A people 
that lives and feels in this wise has no need of war. 


Intellectual and Physical Transplanta- 
tion as Remedies. — The different cultures are so 
many intellectual climates, every one of which is 
peculiarly harmful or beneficial to this or that 
organism. History as a whole, as the knowledge 
of different cultures, is the science of remedies, but 
not the science of the healing art itself. We still 
need a physician who can make use of these 
remedies, in order to send every one — temporarily 
or permanently — to the climate that just suits 
him. To live in the present, within the limits of a 
single culture, is insufficient as a universal remedy : 
too many highly useful kinds of men, who cannot 
breathe freely in this atmosphere, would perish. 
With the aid of history we must give them air and 
try to preserve them : even men of lower cultures 
have their value. — Add to this cure of intellects that 
humanity, on considerations of bodily health, must 
strive to discover by means of a medical geography 


what kinds of degeneration and disease are caused 
by each region of the earth, and conversely, what 
ingredients of health the earth affords : and then, 
gradually, nations, families, and individuals must be 
transplanted long and permanently enough for them 
to become masters of their inherited physical in- 
firmities. The whole world will finally be a series 
of sanatoria. 


Reason and the Tree of Mankind. — What 
you all fear in your senile short-sightedness, regard- 
ing the over-population of the world, gives the more 
hopeful a mighty task. Man is some day to become 
a tree overshadowing the whole earth, with millions 
upon millions of buds that shall all grow to fruits 
side by side, and the earth itself shall be prepared 
for the nourishment of this tree. That the shoot, 
tiny as yet, may increase in sap and strength ; that 
the sap may flow in countless channels for the 
nutrition of the whole and the parts — from these 
and similar tasks we must derive our standard for 
measuring whether a man of to-day is useful or 
worthless. The task is unspeakably great and ad- 
venturous : let us all contribute our share to pre- 
vent the tree from rotting before its time ! The 
historically trained mind will no doubt succeed in 
calling up the human activities of all the ages before 
its eyes, as the community of ants with its cunningly 
wrought mounds stands before our eyes. Super- 
ficially judged, mankind as a whole, like ant-kind, 
might admit of our speaking of " instinct." On a 
closer examination we observe how whole nations, 
vol. 11, T 


nay whole centuries, take pains to discover and test 
new means of benefiting the great mass of humanity, 
and thus finally the great common fruit-tree of 
the world. Whatever injury the individual nations 
or periods may suffer in this testing process, they 
have each become wise through this injury, and 
from them the tide of wisdom slowly pours over 
the principles of whole races and whole epochs. 
Ants too go astray and make blunders. Through 
the folly of its remedies, mankind may well go to 
rack and ruin before the proper time. There is no 
sure guiding instinct for the former or the latter. 
Rather must we boldly face the great task of pre- 
paring the earth for a plant of the most ample and 
joyous fruitfulness — a task set by reason to reason ! 


The Praise of Disinterestedness and its 
ORIGIN. — Between two neighbouring chieftains 
there was a long-standing quarrel : they laid waste 
each other's territories, stole cattle, and burnt down 
houses, with an indecisive result on the whole, be- 
cause their power was fairly equal. A third, who 
from the distant situation of his property was able 
to keep aloof from these feuds, yet had reason to 
dread the day when one of the two neighbours 
should gain a decisive preponderance, at last inter- 
vened between the combatants with ceremonial 
goodwill. Secretly he lent a heavy weight to 
his peace proposal by giving either to understand 
that he would henceforth join forces with the other 
against the one who strove to break the peace. 


They met in his presence, they hesitatingly placed 
into his hand the hands that had hitherto been the 
tools and only too often the causes of hatred — and 
then they really and seriously tried to keep the 
peace. Either saw with astonishment how suddenly 
his prosperity and his comfort increased ; how he 
now had as neighbour a dealer ready to buy and 
sell instead of a treacherous or openly scornful 
evil-doer; how even, in unforeseen troubles, they 
could reciprocally save each other from distress, 
instead of, as before, making capital out of this dis- 
tress of his neighbour and enhancing it to the highest 
degree. It even seemed as if the human type had 
improved in both countries, for the eyes had become 
brighter, the forehead had lost its wrinkles ; all now 
felt confidence in the future — and nothing is more 
advantageous for the souls and bodies of men than 
this confidence. They saw each other every year 
on the anniversary of the alliance, the chieftains as 
well as their retinue, and indeed before the eyes of 
the mediator, whose mode of action they admired 
and revered more and more, the greater the profit 
that they owed to him became. Then his mode of 
action was called disinterested. They had looked 
far too fixedly at the profit they had reaped them- 
selves hitherto to see anything more of their neigh- 
bour's method of dealing than that his condition in 
consequence of this had not altered so much as their 
own ; he had rather remained the same : and thus it 
appeared that the former had not had his profit in 
view. For the first time people said to themsel- 
ves that disinterestedness was a virtue. It is true 
that in minor private matters similar circumstances 


had arisen, but men only had eyes for this virtue 
when it was depicted on the walls in a large script 
that was legible to the whole community. Moral 
qualities are not recognised as virtues, endowed 
with names, held in esteem, and recommended as 
worthy of acquisition until the moment when they 
have visibly decided the happiness and destiny of 
whole societies. For then the loftiness of senti- 
ment and the excitation of the inner creative forces 
is in many so great, that offerings are brought to 
this quality, offerings from the best of what each 
possesses. At its feet the serious man lays his 
seriousness, the dignified man his dignity, women 
their gentleness, the young all the wealth of hope 
and futurity that in them lies; the poet lends it 
words and names, sets it marching in the procession 
of similar beings, gives it a pedigree, and finally, as 
is the way of artists, adores the picture of his fancy 
as a new godhead — he even teaches others to adore. 
Thus in the end, with the co-operation of universal 
love and gratitude, a virtue becomes, like a statue, 
a repository of all that is good and honourable, a 
sort of temple and divine personage combined. It 
appears thenceforward as an individual virtue, as 
an absolute entity, which it was not before, and 
exercises the power and privileges of a sanctified 
super-humanity. — In the later days of Greece the 
cities were full of such deified human abstractions 
(if one may so call them). The nation, in its own 
fashion, had set up a Platonic " Heaven of Ideas " 
on earth, and I do not think that its inhabitants 
were felt to be less alive than any of the old 
Homeric divinities. 


Days of Darkness. — "Days of Darkness" is 
the name given in Norway to the period when the 
sun remains below the horizon the whole day long. 
The temperature then falls slowly but continually. — 
A fine simile for all thinkers for whom the sun of 
the human future is temporarily eclipsed. 


The Philosophy of Luxury. — A garden, figs, 
a little cheese, and three or four good friends — that 
was the luxury of Epicurus. 

The Epochs of Life. — The real epochs of life 
are those brief periods of cessation midway between 
the rise and decline of a dominating idea or emotion. 
Here once again there is satisfaction : all the rest is 
hunger and thirst — or satiety. 


Dreams. — Our dreams, if for once in a way they 
succeed and are complete — generally a dream is a 
bungled piece of work — are symbolic concatenations 
of scenes and images in place of a narrative poeti- 
cal language. They paraphrase our experiences or 
expectations or relations with poetic boldness and 
definiteness, so that in the morning we are always 
astonished at ourselves when we remember the 
nature of our dream. In dreams we use up too 
much artistry — and hence are often too poor in 
artistry in the daytime. 



Nature and Science. — As in nature, so in 
science the worse and less fertile soils are first 
cultivated — because the means that science in its 
early stages has at command are fairly sufficient for 
this purpose. The working of the most fertile soils 
requires an enormous, carefully developed, perse- 
vering method, tangible individual results, and an 
organised body of well-trained workers. All these 
are found together only at a late stage. — Impa- 
tience and ambition often grasp too early at these 
most fertile soils, but the results are then from the 
first null and void. In nature such losses would 
usually be avenged by the starvation of the settlers. 


The Simple Life. — A simple mode of life is 
nowadays difficult, requiring as it does far more re- 
flection and gift for invention than even very clever 
people possess. The most honourable will perhaps 
still say, " I have not the time for such lengthy 
reflection. The simple life is for me too lofty a goal : 
I will wait till those wiser than I have discovered 


Peaks and Needle-Points.— The poor fertility, 
the frequent celibacy, and in general the sexual 
coldness of the highest and most cultivated spirits, 
as that of the classes to which they belong, is 
essential in human economy. Intelligence recog- 
nises and makes use of the fact that at an acme of 


intellectual development the danger of a neurotic 
offspring is very great. Such men are the peaks of 
mankind — they ought no longer to run out into 


Natura non facit saltum. — However strongly 
man may develop upwards and seem to leap from 
one contradiction to another, a close observation 
will reveal the dovetails where the new building 
grows out of the old. This is the biographer's task : 
he must reflect upon his subject on the principle 
that nature takes no jumps. 


Clean, but He who clothes himself with 

rags washed clean dresses cleanly, to be sure, but is 
still ragged. 


The Solitary Speaks. — In compensation for 
much disgust, disheartenment, boredom — such as 
a lonely life without friends, books, duties, and 
passions must involve — we enjoy those short spans 
of deep communion with ourselves and with Nature. 
He who fortifies himselfcompletely against boredom 
fortifies himself against himself too. He will never 
drink the most powerful elixir from his own inner- 
most spring. 


False Renown.— I hate those so-called natural 
beauties which really have significance only through 
science, especially geographical science, but are in- 


significant in an aesthetic sense : for example, the 
view of Mont Blanc from Geneva. This is an in- 
significant thing without the auxiliary mental joy of 
science : the nearer mountains are all more beautiful 
and fuller of expression, but " not nearly so high," 
adds that absurd depreciatory science. The eye 
here contradicts science : how can it truly rejoice in 
the contradiction ? 


Those that Travel for Pleasure. — Like 
animals, stupid and perspiring, they climb moun- 
tains : people forgot to tell them that there were 
fine views on the way. 


Too Much and Too Little.— Men nowadays 
live too much and think too little. They have 
hunger and dyspepsia together, and become thinner 
and thinner, however much they eat. He who now 
says " Nothing has happened to me " is a blockhead. 


End AND Goal. — Not every end is the goal. 
The end of a melody is not its goal, and yet if 
a melody has not reached its end, it has also not 
reached its goal. A parable. 


Neutrality of Nature on a Grand Scale. 
—The neutrality of Nature on a grand scale (in 


mountain, sea, forest, and desert) is pleasing, but 
only for a brief space. Afterwards we become im- 
patient. "Have they all nothing to say to us} 
Do we not exist so far as they are concerned?" 
There arises a feeling that a lese-majeste is com- 
mitted against humanity. 


Forgetting our Purpose. — In a journey we 
commonly forget its goal. Almost every vocation 
is chosen and entered upon as means to an end, but 
is continued as the ultimate end. Forgetting our 
purpose is the most frequent form of folly. 


Solar Orbit of an Idea.— When an idea is 
just rising on the horizon, the soul's temperature is 
usually very low. Gradually the idea develops in 
warmth, and is hottest (that is to say, exerts its 
greatest influence) when belief in the idea is already 
on the wane. 


If some one now dared to say, " He that is not 
for me is against me," he would at once have all 
against him. — This sentiment does credit to our era. 


Being Ashamed of Wealth.— Our age endures 
only a single species of rich men — those who are 


ashamed of their wealth. If we hear it said of 
any one that he is very rich, we at once feel a similar 
sentiment to that experienced at the sight of a re- 
pulsively swollen invalid, one suffering from diabetes 
or dropsy. We must with an effort remember our 
humanity, in order to go about with this rich man 
in such a way that he does not notice our feeling of 
disgust. But as soon as he prides himself at all on 
his wealth, our feelings are mingled with an almost 
compassionate surprise at such a high degree of 
human unreason. We would fain raise our hands 
to heaven and cry, " Poor deformed and over- 
burdened creature, fettered a hundredfold, to whom 
every hour brings or may bring something un- 
pleasant, in whose frame twitches every event that 
occurs in scores of countries, how can you make us 
believe that you feel at ease in your position ? If 
you appear anywhere in public, we know that it 
is a sort of running the gauntlet amid countless 
glances that have for you only cold hate or im- 
portunity or silent scorn. You may earn more 
easily than others, but it is only a superfluous 
earning, which brings little joy, and the guarding 
of what you have earned is now, at any rate, a more 
troublesome business than any toilsome process of 
earning. You are continually suffering, because you 
are continually losing. What avails it you that they 
are always injecting you with fresh artificial blood ? 
That does not relieve the pain of those cupping- 
glasses that are fixed, for ever fixed, on your neck ! — 
But, to be quite fair to you, it is difficult or perhaps 
impossible for you not to be rich. You must guard, 
you must earn more ; the inherited bent of your 


character is the yoke fastened upon you. But do 
not on that account deceive us — be honestly and 
visibly ashamed of the yoke you wear, as in your 
soul you are weary and unwilling to wear it. This 
shame is no disgrace." 


Extravagant Presumptions. — There are men 
so presumptuous that they can only praise a great- 
ness which they publicly admire by representing it 
as steps and bridges that lead to themselves. 

21 X. 

On the Soil of Insult. — He who wishes to 
deprive men of a conception is generally not 
satisfied with refuting it and drawing out of it the 
illogical worm that resides within. Rather, when 
the worm has been killed, does he throw the whole 
fruit as well into the mire, in order to make it 
ignoble in men's sight and to inspire disgust. Thus 
he thinks that he has found a means of making the 
usual "third-day resurrection" of conceptions an 
impossibility. — He is wrong, for on the very soil of 
insult, in the midst of the filth, the kernel of the 
conception soon produces new seeds. — The right 
thing then, is not to scorn and bespatter what one 
wishes finally to remove, but to lay it tenderly on 
ice again and again, having regard to the fact that 
conceptions are very tenacious of life. Here we 
must act according to the maxim : " One refutation 
is no refutation." 



The Lot of Morality.— Since spiritual bond- 
age is being relaxed, morality (the inherited, tra- 
ditional, instinctive mode of action in accordance 
with moral sentiments) is surely also on the decline. 
This, however, is not the case with the individual 
virtues, moderation, justice, repose ; for the greatest 
freedom of the conscious intellect leads at some 
time, even unconsciously, back to these virtues, and 
then enjoins their practice as expedient. 


The Fanatic of Distrust and his Surety. 
— The Elder-. You wish to make the tremendous 
venture and instruct mankind in the great things ? 
What is your surety ? 

Pyrrho : It is this : I intend to warn men 
against myself; I intend to confess all the defects of 
my character quite openly, and reveal to the world 
my hasty conclusions, my contradictions, and my 
foolish blunders. " Do not listen to me," I will say 
to them, " until I have become equal to the meanest 
among you, nay am even less than he. Struggle 
against truth as long as you can, from your disgust 
with her advocate. I shall be your seducer and 
betrayer if you find in me the slightest glimmering 
of respectability and dignity." 

The Elder : You promise too much ; you cannot 
bear this burden. 

Pyrrho : Then I will tell men even that, and say 
that I am too weak, and cannot keep my promise. 
The greater my unworthiness, the more will they 


mistrust the truth, when it passes through my 

The Elder: You propose to teach distrust of 
truth ? 

Pyrrho : Yes ; distrust as it never was yet on 
earth, distrust of anything and everything. This 
is the only road to truth. The right eye must not 
trust the left eye, and for some time light must be 
called darkness : this is the path that you must 
tread. Do not imagine that it will lead you to 
fruit trees and fair pastures. You will find on this 
road little hard grains — these are truths. For 
years and years you will have to swallow handfuls 
of lies, so as not to die of hunger, although you 
know that they are lies. But those grains will be 
sown and planted, and perhaps, perhaps some day 
will come the harvest. No one may promise that 
day, unless he be a fanatic. 

The Elder : Friend, friend ! Your words too are 
those of a fanatic ! 

Pyrrho : You are right ! I will be distrustful of 
all words. 

The Elder : Then you will have to be silent. 

Pyrrho : I shall tell men that I have to be sjlent, 
and that they are to mistrust my silence. 

The Elder : So you draw back from your under- 
taking ? 

Pyrrho : On the contrary — you have shown me 
the door through which I must pass. 

The Elder : I don't know whether we yet com- 
pletely understand each other ? 

Pyrrho : Probably not. 

The Elder : If only you understand yourself! 


(Pyrrho turns round and laughs.) 
The Elder : Ah, friend ! Silence and laughter — 
is that now your whole philosophy ? 
Pyrrho : There might be a worse. 

EUROPEAN BOOKS.— In reading Montaigne, La 
Rochefoucauld, La Bruyere, Fontenelle (especially 
the Dialogues des Morts), Vauvenargues, and Cham- 
fort we are nearer to antiquity than in any group 
of six authors of other nations. Through these 
six the spirit of the last centuries before Christ 
has once more come into being, and they collec- 
tively form an important link in the great and 
still continuous chain of the Renaissance. Their 
books are raised above all changes of national 
taste and philosophical nuances from which as a 
rule every book takes and must take its hue in 
order to become famous. They contain more real 
ideas than all the books of German philosophers 

put together : ideas of the sort that breed ideas 

I am at a loss how to define to the end : enough to 
say that they appear to me writers who wrote 
neither for children nor for visionaries, neither for 
virgins nor for Christians, neither for Germans nor 

for I am again at a loss how to finish my list. 

To praise them in plain terms, I may say that 
had they been written in Greek, they would have 
been understood by Greeks. How much, on the 
other hand, would even a Plato have understood 
of the writings of our best German thinkers — Goethe 
and Schopenhauer, for instance — to say nothing 
of the repugnance that he would have felt to 


their style, particularly to its obscure, exaggerated, 
and occasionally dry-as-dust elements ? And these 
are defects from which these two among German 
thinkers suffer least and yet far too much (Goethe 
as thinker was fonder than he should have been 
of embracing the cloud, and Schopenhauer almost 
constantly wanders, not with impunity, among 
symbols of objects rather than among the objects 
themselves). — On the other hand, what clearness 
and graceful precision there is in these Frenchmen ! 
The Greeks, whose ears were most refined, could 
not but have approved of this art, and one quality 
they would even have admired and reverenced — 
the French verbal wit : they were extremely fond 
of this quality, without being particularly strong 
in it themselves. 


Fashion and Modernity. — Wherever ignor- 
ance, uncleanness, and superstition are still rife, 
where communication is backward, agriculture poor, 
and the priesthood powerful, national costumes are 
still worn. Fashion, on the other hand, rules where 
the opposite conditions prevail. Fashion is accor- 
dingly to be found next to the virtues in modern 
Europe. Are we to call it their seamy side? — 
Masculine dress that is fashionable and no longer 
national proclaims of its wearer : firstly, that he 
does not wish to appear as an individual or as 
member of a class or race ; that he has made an 
intentional suppression of these kinds of vanity a 
law unto himself: secondly, that he is a worker, 
and has little time for dressing and self-adornment, 


and moreover regards anything expensive or lux- 
urious in material and cut as out of harmony with 
his work : lastly, that by his clothes he indic- 
ates the more learned and intellectual callings as 
those to which he stands or would like to stand 
nearest as a European — whereas such national 
costumes as still exist would exhibit the occupa- 
tions of brigand, shepherd, and soldier as the most 
desirable and distinguished. Within this general 
character of masculine fashion exist the slight 
fluctuations demanded by the vanity of young 
men, the dandies and dawdlers of our great 
cities — in other words, Europeans who have 
not yet reached maturity. — European women are 
as yet far less mature, and for this reason the 
fluctuations with them are much greater. They 
also will not have the national costume, and hate 
to be recognised by their dress as German, French, 
or Russian. They are, however, very desirous of 
creating an impression as individuals. Then, too, 
their dress must leave no one in doubt that they 
belong to one of the more reputable classes of 
society (to " good " or " high " or " great " society), 
and on this score their pretensions are all the 
greater if they belong scarcely or not at all to that 
class. Above all, the young woman does not want 
to wear what an older woman wears, because she 
thinks she loses her market value if she is suspected 
of being somewhat advanced in years. The older 
woman, on the other hand, would like to deceive 
the world as long as possible by a youthful garb. 
From this competition must continually arise 
temporary fashions, in which the youthful element 


is unmistakably and inimitably apparent. But after 
the inventive genius of the young female artists 
has run riot for some time in such indiscreet reve- 
lations of youth (or rather, after the inventive 
genius of older, courtly civilisations and of still 
existing peoples — in fact, of the whole world of 
dress — has been pressed into the service, and, say, 
the Spaniards, Turks, and ancient Greeks have been 
yoked together for the glorification of fair flesh), 
then they at last discover, time and again, that 
they have not been good judges of their own in- 
terest ; that if they wish to have power over men, 
the game of hide-and-seek with the beautiful body 
is more likely to win than naked or half-naked 
honesty. And then the wheel of taste and vanity 
turns once more in an opposite direction. The 
rather older young women find that their kingdom 
has come, and the competition of the dear, absurd 
creatures rages again from the beginning. — But the 
more women advance mentally, and no longer 
among themselves concede the pre-eminence to an 
unripe age, the smaller their fluctuations of costume 
grow and the less elaborate their adornment. A 
just verdict in this respect must not be based on 
ancient models — in other words, not on the standard 
of the dress of women who dwell on the shores of 
the Mediterranean — but must have an eye to the 
climatic conditions of the central and northern 
regions, where the intellectual and creative spirit 
of Europe now finds its most natural home. — 
Generally speaking, therefore, it is not change that 
will be the characteristic mark of fashion and 
modernity, for change is retrograde, and betokens 
vol. 11. U 


the still unripened men and women of Europe ; 
rather the repudiation of national, social, and in- 
dividual vanity. Accordingly, it is commendable, 
because involving a saving of time and strength, 
if certain cities and districts of Europe think and 
invent for all the rest in the matter of dress, in 
view of the fact that a sense of form does not 
seem to have been bestowed upon all. Nor is 
it really an excessive ambition, so long as these 
fluctuations still exist, for Paris, for example, to 
claim to be the sole inventor and innovator in this 
sphere. If a German, from hatred of these claims 
on the part of a French city, wishes to dress differ- 
ently, — as, for example, in the Diirer style, — let 
him reflect that he then has a costume which 
the Germans of olden times wore, but which the 
Germans have not in the slightest degree invented. 
For there has never been a style of dress that 
characterised the German as a German. Moreover, 
let him observe how he looks in his costume, and 
whether his altogether modern face, with all its hues 
and wrinkles, does not raise a protest against a 
Diirer fashion of dress. — Here, where the concepts 
" modern " and " European " are almost identical, we 
understand by " Europe " a far wider region than 
is embraced by the Europe of geography, the little 
peninsula of Asia. In particular, we must include 
America, in so far as America is the daughter of 
our civilisation. On the other hand, not all Europe 
falls under the heading of cultured " Europe," but 
only those nations and divisions of nations which 
have their common past in Greece, Rome, Judaism, 
and Christianity. 

; but 


" German Virtue." — There is no denying that 
from the end of the eighteenth century a current 
of moral awakening flowed through Europe. Then 
only Virtue found again the power of speech. She 
learnt to discover the unrestrained gestures of ex- 
altation and emotion, she was no longer ashamed of 
herself, and she created philosophies and poems for 
her own glorification. If we look for the sources of 
this current, we come upon Rousseau, but the mythical 
Rousseau, the phantom formed from the impression 
left by his writings (one might almost say again, his 
mythically interpreted writings) and by the indica- 
tions that he provided himself. He and his public 
constantly worked at the fashioning of this ideal 
figure. The other origin lies in the resurrection of 
the Stoical side of Rome's greatness, whereby the 
French so nobly carried on the task of the Renais- 
sance. With striking success they proceeded from 
the reproduction of antique forms tothe reproduction 
of antique characters. Thus they may always claim 
a title to the highest honours, as the nation which has 
hitherto given the modern world its best books and 
its best men. How this twofold archetype, the 
mythical Rousseau and the resurrected spirit of 
Rome, affected France's weaker neighbours, is par- 
ticularly noticeable in Germany, which, in conse- 
quence of her novel and quite unwonted impulse 
to seriousness and loftiness in will and self-control, 
finally came to feel astonishment at her own new- 
found virtue, and launched into the world the con- 
cept " German virtue," as if this were the most 


original and hereditary of her possessions. The first 
great men who transfused into their own blood that 
French impulse towards greatness and consciousness 
of the moral will were more honest, and more grate- 
ful. Whence comes the moralism of Kant ? He is 
continually reminding us : from Rousseau and the 
revival of Stoic Rome. The moralism of Schiller 
has the same source and the same glorification of 
the source. The moralism of Beethoven in notes is 
a continual song in praise of Rousseau, the antique 
French, and Schiller. " Young Germany " was the 
first to forget its gratitude, because in the meantime 
people had listened to the preachers of hatred of 
the French. The "young German " came to the fore 
with more consciousness than is generally allowed 
to youths. When he investigated his paternity, 
he might well think of the proximity of Schiller, 
Schleiermacher, and Fichte. But he should have 
looked for his grandfathers in Paris and Geneva, 
and it was very short-sighted of him to believe what 
he believed : that virtue was not more than thirty 
years old. People became used to demanding that 
the word " German " should connote " virtue," and 
this process has not been wholly forgotten to 
this day. — Be it observed further that this moral 
awakening, as may almost be guessed, has resulted 
only in drawbacks and obstacles to the recognition 
of moral phenomena. What is the entire German 
philosophy, starting from Kant, with all its French, 
English, and Italian offshoots and by-products ? A 
semi-theological attack upon Helvetius, a rejection 
of the slowly and laboriously acquired views and 
signposts of the right road, which in the end he 


collected and expressed so well. To this day Hel- 
vetius is the best-abused of all good moralists and 
good men in Germany. 


Classic and Romantic. — Both classically and 
romantically minded spirits — two species that al- 
ways exist — cherish a vision of the future ; but the 
former derive their vision from the strength of their 
time, the latter from its weakness. 


The Machine as Teacher. — Machinery teaches 
in itself the dovetailed working of masses of men, 
in activities where each has but one thing to do. It 
is the model of party organisations and of warfare. 
On the other hand, it does not teach individual self- 
glorification, for it makes of the many a machine, 
and of each individual a tool for one purpose. Its 
most general effect is to teach the advantage of 


Unable to Settle. — One likes to live in a 
small town. But from time to time just this small 
town drives us out into bare and lonely Nature, es- 
pecially when we think we know it too well. Finally, 
in order to refresh ourselves from Nature, we go to 
the big town. A few draughts from this cup and we 
see its dregs, and the circle begins afresh, with the 
small town as starting-point. — So the moderns live ; 


they are in all things rather too thorough to be able 
to settle like the men of other days. 


Reaction against the Civilisation of 
Machinery. — The machine, itself a product of the 
highest mental powers, sets in motion hardly any 
but the lower, unthinking forces of the men who 
serve it. True, it unfetters a vast quantity of force 
which would otherwise lie dormant But it does not 
communicate the impulse to climb higher, to im- 
prove, to become artistic. It creates activity and 
monotony, but this in the long-run produces a 
counter-effect, a despairing ennui of the soul, which 
through machinery has learnt to hanker after the 
variety of leisure. 


The Danger of Enlightenment. — All the 
half-insane, theatrical, bestially cruel, licentious, and 
especially sentimental and self-intoxicating ele- 
ments which go to form the true revolutionary sub- 
stance, and became flesh and spirit, before the 
revolution, in Rousseau — all this composite being, 
with factitious enthusiasm, finally set even " enlighten- 
ment " upon its fanatical head, which thereby began 
itself to shine as in an illuminating halo. Yet, en- 
lightenment is essentially foreign to that phenome- 
non, and, if left to itself, would have pierced silently 
through the clouds like a shaft of light, long content 
to transfigure individuals alone, and thus only slowly 
transfiguring national customs and institutions as 
well. But now, bound hand and foot to a violent and 


abrupt monster, enlightenment itself became violent 
and abrupt. Its danger has therefore become almost 
greater than its useful quality of liberation and il- 
lumination, which it introduced into the great re- 
volutionary movement. Whoever grasps this will 
also know from what confusion it has to be extri- 
cated, from what impurities to be cleansed, in order 
that it may then by itself continue the work of 
enlightenment and also nip the revolution in the bud 
and nullify its effects. 

Passion in the Middle Ages.— The Middle 
Ages are the period of great passions. Neither an- 
tiquity nor our period possesses this widening of the 
soul. Never was the capacity of the soul greater or 
measured by larger standards. The physical, pri- 
meval sensuality of the barbarian races and the over- 
soulful, over-vigilant, over-brilliant eyes of Christian 
mystics, the most childish and youthful and the 
most over-ripe and world-weary, the savageness of 
the beast of prey and the effeminacy and excessive 
refinement of the late antique spirit — all these ele- 
ments were then not seldom united in one and the 
same person. Thus, if a man was seized by a 
passion, the rapidity of the torrent must have been 
greater, the whirl more confused, the fall deeper 
than ever before. — We modern men may be content 
to feel that we have suffered a loss here. 

Robbing and Saving.— All intellectual move- 
ments whereby the great may hope to rob and the 


small to save are sure to prosper. That is why 
instance, the German Reformation made progress. 


Gladsome Souls. — When even a remote hint 
of drink, drunkenness, and an evil-smelling kind of 
jocularity was given, the souls of the old Germans 
waxed gladsome. Otherwise they were depressed, 
but here they found something they really under- 


Debauchery at Athens. — Even when the fish- 
market of Athens acquired its thinkers and poets, 
Greek debauchery had a more idyllic and refined 
appearance than Roman or German debauchery 
ever had. The voice of Juvenal would have sounded 
there like a hollow trumpet, and would have been 
answered by a good-natured and almost childish 
outburst of laughter. 


Cleverness of the Greek. — As the desire for 
victory and pre-eminence is an ineradicable trait of 
human nature, older and more primitive than any 
respect of or joy in equality, the Greek State sanc- 
tioned gymnastic and artistic competitions among 
equals. In other words, it marked out an arena 
where this impulse to conquer would find a vent 
without jeopardising the political order. With the 
final decline of gymnastic and artistic contests the 
Greek State fell into a condition of profound unrest 
and dissolution. 

f, for 


The "Eternal Epicurus." — Epicurus has 
lived in all periods, and lives yet, unbeknown to 
those who called and still call themselves Epicureans, 
and without repute among philosophers. He has 
himself even forgotten his own name — that was the 
heaviest luggage that he ever cast off. 


The Style of Superiority. — "University 
slang," the speech of the German students, has its 
origin among the students who do not study. The 
latter know how to acquire a preponderance over 
their more serious fellows by exposing all the farcical 
elements of culture, respectability, erudition, order, 
and moderation, and by having words taken from 
these realms always on their lips, like the better 
and more learned students, but with malice in their 
glance and an accompanying grimace. This lan- 
guage of superiority — the only one that is original 
in Germany — is nowadays unconsciously used by 
statesmen and newspaper critics as well. It is a 
continual process of ironical quotation, a restless, 
cantankerous squinting of the eye right and left, a 
language of inverted commas and grimaces. 


The Recluse. — We retire into seclusion, but not 
from personal misgivings, as if the political and 
social conditions of the day did not satisfy us; 
rather because by our retirement we try to save and 


collect forces which will some day be urgently 
needed by culture, the more this present is this 
present y and, as such, fulfils its task. We form a 
capital and try to make it secure, but, as in times 
of real danger, our method is to bury our hoard. 


Tyrants of the Intellect. — In our times, 
any one who expressed a single moral trait so 
thoroughly as the characters of Theophrastus and 
Moliere do, would be considered ill, and be spoken 
of as possessing " a fixed idea." The Athens of the 
third century, if we could visit it, would appear 
to us populated by fools. Nowadays the democ- 
racy of ideas rules in every brain — there the multi- 
tude collectively is lord. A single idea that tried 
to be lord is now called, as above stated, " a fixed 
idea." This is our method of murdering tyrants — 
we hint at the madhouse. 


A Most Dangerous Emigration.— In^Russia 
there is an emigration of the intelligence. People 
cross the frontier in order to read and write good 
books. Thus, however, they are working towards 
turning their country, abandoned by the intellect, 
into a gaping Asiatic maw, which would fain 
swallow our little Europe. 


Political Fools. — The almost religious love of 
the king was transferred by the Greeks, when the 


monarchy was abolished, to the polls. An idea can 
be loved more than a person, and does not thwart 
the lover so often as a beloved human being (for 
the more men know themselves to be loved, the 
less considerate they usually become, until they are 
no longer worthy of love, and a rift really arises). 
Hence the reverence for State and polzs was greater 
than the reverence for princes had ever been. The 
Greeks are the political fools of ancient history — to- 
day other nations boast that distinction. 

Against Neglect of the Eyes.— Might one 
not find among the cultured classes of England, 
who read the Titnes, a decline in their powers of 
sight every ten years ? 

Great Works and Great Faith. — One man 
had great works, but his comrade had great faith 
in these works. They were inseparable, but ob- 
viously the former was entirely dependent upon the 

The Sociable Man.—" I don't get on well with 
myself," said some one in explanation of his fondness 
for society. " Society has a stronger digestion than 
I have, and can put up with me." 

Shutting the Mind's Eyes. — If we are prac- 
tised and accustomed to reflect upon our actions, 


we must nevertheless close the inner eye while per- 
forming an action (be this even only writing letters 
or eating or drinking). Even in conversation with 
average people we must know how to obscure our 
own mental vision in order to attain and grasp 
average thinking. This shutting of the eyes is a 
conscious act and can be achieved by the will. 


The Most Terrible Revenge. — If we wish to 
take a thorough revenge upon an opponent, we 
must wait until we have our hand quite full of truths 
and equities,and can calmly use the whole lot against 
him. Hence the exercise of revenge may be identi- 
fied with the exercise of equity. It is the most 
terrible kind of revenge, for there is no higher 
court to which an appeal can be made. Thus did 
Voltaire revenge himself on Piron, with five lines 
that sum up Piron's whole life, work, and character : 
every word is a truth. So too he revenged himself 
upon Frederick the Great in a letter to him from 


Taxes of Luxury. — In shops we buy the most 
necessary and urgent things, and have to pay very 
dear, because we pay as well for what is also to be 
had there cheap, but seldom finds a customer — 
articles of luxury that minister to pleasure. Thus 
luxury lays a constant tax upon the man of simple 
life who does without luxuries. 


Why Beggars still Live. — If all alms were 
given only out of compassion, the whole tribe of 
beggars would long since have died of starvation. 


Why Beggars still Live. — The greatest of 
almsgivers is cowardice. 


How the Thinker Makes Use of a Conver- 
sation. — Without being eavesdroppers, we can hear 
a good deal if we are able to see well, and at the 
same time to let ourselves occasionally get out of 
our own sight. But people do not know how to 
make use of a conversation. They pay far too much 
attention to what they want to say and reply, where- 
as the true listener is often contented to make a 
provisional answer and to say something merely as 
a payment on account of politeness, but on the other 
hand, with his memory lurking in ambush, carries 
away with him all that the other said, together with 
his tones and gestures in speaking. — In ordinary 
conversation every one thinks he is the leader, just 
as if two ships, sailing side by side and giving each 
other a slight push here and there, were each firmly 
convinced that the other ship was following or even 
being towed. 


The Art of Excusing Oneself.— If some one 
excuses himself to us, he has to make out a very 


good case, otherwise we readily come to feel our- 
selves the culprits, and experience an unpleasant 

Impossible Intercourse. — The ship of your 
thoughts goes too deep for you to be able to travel 
with it in the waters of these friendly, decorous, 
obliging people. There are too many shallows and 
sandbanks : you would have to tack and turn, and 
would find yourself continually at your wits' end, 
and they would soon also be in perplexity as to 
your perplexity, the reason for which they cannot 


The Fox of Foxes.— A true fox not only calls 
sour the grapes he cannot reach, but also those he 
has reached and snatched from the grasp of others. 


In Intimate Intercourse.— However closely 
men are connected, there are still all the four 
quarters of the heavens in their common horizon, 
and at times they become aware of this fact. 


The Silence of Disgust. — Behold ! some one 
undergoes a thorough and painful transformation 
as thinker and human being, and makes a public 
avowal of the change. And those who hear him 
see nothing, and still believe he is the same as 
before ! This common experience has already dis- 


gusted many writers. They had rated the intel- 
lectuality of mankind too highly, and made a vow 
to be silent as soon as they became aware of their 


Business Seriousness. — The business of many 
rich and eminent men is their form of recreation 
from too long periods of habitual leisure. They then 
become as serious and impassioned as other people 
do in their rare moments of leisure and amusement. 


The Eye's Double Sense.— Just as a sudden 
scaly ripple runs over the waters at your feet, so 
there are similar sudden uncertainties and ambigu- 
ities in the human eye. They lead to the question : 
is it a shudder, or a smile, or both? 


Positive and Negative. — This thinker needs 
no one to refute him — he is quite capable of doing 
that himself. 


The Revenge of the Empty Nets.— Above 
all we should beware of those who have the bitter 
feeling of the fisherman who after a hard day's work 
comes home in the evening with nets empty. 


Non-Assertion ofour Rights. — The exertion 
of power is laborious and demands courage. That 



is why so many do not assert their most valid rights, 
because their rights are a kind of power, and they 
are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise them. In- 
dulgence and patience are the names given to the 
virtues that cloak these faults. 


Bearers of Light. — In Society there would be 
no sunshine if the born flatterers (I mean the so- 
called amiable people) did not bring some in with 

When most Benevolent. — When a man has 
been highly honoured and has eaten a little, he is 
most benevolent. 


To THE Light. — Men press forward to the light 
not in order to see better but to shine better. — The 
person before whom we shine we gladly allow to 
be called a light. 


The Hypochondriac. — The hypochondriac is a 
man who has just enough intellect and pleasure in 
the intellect to take his sorrows, his losses, and his 
mistakes seriously. But the field on which he grazes 
is too small : he crops it so close that in the end he 
has to look for single stalks. Thus he finally be- 
comes envious and avaricious — and only then is he 


Giving in Return. — Hesiod advises us to give 
the neighbour who has helped us good measure and, 


if possible, fuller measure in return, as soon as we 
have the power. For this is where the neighbour's 
pleasure comes in, since his former benevolence brings 
him interest. Moreover, he who gives in return also 
has his pleasure, inasmuch as, by giving a little 
more than he got, he redeems the slight humilia- 
tion of being compelled to seek aid. 


More Subtle than is Necessary. — Our sense 
of observation for how far others perceive our weak- 
nesses is far more subtle than our sense of obser- 
vation for the weaknesses of others. It follows that 
the first-named sense is more subtle than is neces- 


A Kind of Bright Shadows. — Close to the 
nocturnal type of man we almost regularly find, as 
if bound up with him, a bright soul. This is, as it 
were, the negative shadow cast by the former. 

Not to take Revenge. — There are so many 
subtle sorts of revenge that one who has occasion 
to take revenge can really do or omit to do what he 
likes. In any case, the whole world will agree, after 
a time, that he has avenged himself. Hence the 
avoidance of revenge is hardly within man's power. 
He must not even so much as say that he does not 
want to do so, since the contempt for revenge is 
interpreted and felt as a sublime and exquisite form 
of revenge. — It follows that we must do nothing 





The Mistake of Those who Pay Homage.— 
Every one thinks he is paying a most agreeable com- 
pliment to a thinker when he says that he himself 
hit upon exactly the same idea and even upon the 
same expression. The thinker, however, is seldom 
delighted at hearing such news, nay, rather, he often 
becomes distrustful of his own thoughts and ex- 
pressions. He silently resolves to revise both some 
day. If we wish to pay homage to any one, we 
must beware of expressing our agreement, for this 
puts us on the same level. — Often it is a matter of 
social tact to listen to an opinion as if it were not 
ours or even travelled beyond the limits of our own 
horizon — as, for example, when an old man once in 
a while opens the storehouse of his acquired know- 


Letters. — A letter is an unannounced visit, and 
the postman is the intermediary of impolite surprises. 
Every week we ought to have one hour for receiving 
letters, and then go and take a bath. 


Prejudiced. — Some one said : I have been pre- 
judiced against myself from childhood upwards, and 
hence I find some truth in every censure and some 
absurdity in every eulogy. Praise I generally value 
too low and blame too high. 


The Path to Equality. — A few hours of 
mountain-climbing make a blackguard and a saint 
two rather similar creatures. Weariness is the 
shortest'path to equality and fraternity — and finally 
liberty is bestowed by sleep. 


Calumny. — If we begin to trace to its source a 
real scandalous misrepresentation, we shall rarely 
look for its origin in our honourable and straight- 
forward enemies ; for if they invented anything of 
the sort about us, they, as being our enemies, would 
gain no credence. Those, however, to whom for 
a time we have been most useful, but who, from 
some reason or other, may be secretly sure that they 
will obtain no more from us — such persons are in a 
position to start the ball of slander rolling. They 
gain credence, firstly, because it is assumed that they 
would invent nothing likely to do them damage ; 
secondly, because they have learnt to know us 
intimately. — As a consolation, the much-slandered 
man may say to himself: Calumnies are diseases of 
others that break out in your body. They prove 
that Society is a (moral) organism, so that you can 
prescribe to yourself the cure that will in the end be 
useful to others. 


The Child's Kingdom of Heaven. — The 
happiness of a child is as much of a myth as the 
happiness of the Hyperboreans of whom the Greeks 


fabled. The Greeks supposed that, if indeed happi 
ness dwells anywhere on our earth, it must certainly 
dwell as far as possible from us, perhaps over yonder 
at the edge of the world. Old people have the same 
thought — if man is at all capable of being happy, 
he must be happy as far as possible from our age, 
at the frontiers and beginnings of life. For many 
a man the sight of children, through the veil of this 
myth, is the greatest happiness that he can feel. He 
enters himself into the forecourt of heaven when 
he says, "Suffer the little children to come unto 
me, for of them is the kingdom of heaven." The 
myth of the child's kingdom of heaven holds good, 
in some way or other, wherever in the modern 
world some sentimentality exists. 


The Impatient. — It is just the growing man 
who does not want things in the growing stage. 
He is too impatient for that. The youth will not 
wait until, after long study, suffering, and privation, 
his picture of men and things is complete. Ac- 
cordingly, he confidently accepts another picture 
that lies ready to his hand and is recommended to 
him, and pins his faith to that, as if it must give 
him at once the lines and colours of his own paint- 
ing. He presses a philosopher or a poet to his 
bosom, and must from that time forth perform long 
stretches of forced labour and renounce his own 
self. He learns much in the process, but he often 
forgets what is most worth learning and know- 
ing — his self. He remains all his life a partisan. 



Ah, a vast amount of tedious work has to be done 
before you find your own colours, your own brush, 
your own canvas ! — Even then you are very far 
from being a master in the art of life, but at least 
you are the boss in your own workshop. 


There are no Teachers. — As thinkers we 
ought only to speak of self-teaching. The instruc- 
tion of the young by others is either an experiment 
performed upon something as yet unknown and 
unknowable, or else a thorough levelling process, 
in order to make the new member of society con- 
form to the customs and manners that prevail for 
the time being. In both cases the result is accord- 
ingly unworthy of a thinker — the handiwork of 
parents and teachers, whom some valiantly honest 
person* has called u nos ennemis naturels." One 
day, when, as the world thinks, we have long since 
finished our education, we discover ourselves. Then 
begins the task of the thinker, and then is the time 
to summon him to our aid — not as a teacher, but 
as a self-taught man who has experience. 


Sympathy with Youth. — We are sorry when 
we hear that some one who is still young is losing 
his teeth or growing blind. If we knew all the irre- 
vocable and hopeless feelings hidden in his whole 
being, how great our sorrow would be ! Why do 

* Stendhal.— Tr. 


we really suffer on this account ? Because youth 
has to continue the work we have undertaken, and 
every flaw and failing in its strength is likely to 
injure our work, that will fall into its hands. It is 
the sorrow at the imperfect guarantee of our im- 
mortality : or, if we only feel ourselves as executors 
of the human mission, it is the sorrow that this 
mission must pass to weaker hands than ours. 


The Ages OF Life. — The comparison of the 
four ages of life with the four seasons of the year 
is a venerable piece of folly. Neither the first 
twenty nor the last twenty years of a life correspond 
to a season of the year, assuming that we are not 
satisfied with drawing a parallel between white hair 
and snow and similar colour-analogies. The first 
twenty years are a preparation for life in general, 
for the whole year of life, a sort of long New Year's 
Day. The last twenty review, assimilate, bring into 
union and harmony all that has been experienced 
till then : as, in a small degree, we do on every 
New Year's Eve with the whole past year. But in 
between there really lies an interval which suggests 
a comparison with the seasons — the time from the 
twentieth to the fiftieth year (to speak here of de- 
cades in the lump, while it is an understood thing 
that every one must refine for himself these rough 
outlines). Those three decades correspond to three 
seasons — summer, spring, and autumn. Winter 
human life has none, unless we like to call the (un- 
fortunately) often intervening hard, cold, lonely, 


hopeless, unfruitful periods of disease the winters 
of man. The twenties, hot, oppressive, stormy, 
impetuous, exhausting years, when we praise the 
day in the evening, when it is over, as we wipe the 
sweat from our foreheads — years in which work 
seems to us cruel but necessary — these twenties are 
the summer of life. The thirties, on the other hand, 
are its spring-time, with the air now too warm, now 
too cold, ever restless and stimulating, bubbling sap, 
bloom of leaves, fragrance of buds everywhere, many 
delightful mornings and evenings, work to which the 
song of birds awakens us, .a true work of the heart, 
a kind of joy in our own robustness, strengthened 
by the savour of hopeful anticipation. Lastly the 
forties, mysterious like all that is stationary, like a 
high, broad plateau, traversed by a fresh breeze, with 
a clear, cloudless sky above it, which always has the 
same gentle look all day and half the night — the 
time of harvest and cordial gaiety— that is the 
autumn of life. 


Women's Intellect in Modern Society. — 
What women nowadays think of men's intellect 
may be divined from the fact that in their art of 
adornment they think of anything but of empha- 
sising the intellectual side of their faces or their 
single intellectual features. On the contrary, they 
conceal such traits, and understand, for example 
by an arrangement of their hair over their fore- 
head, how to give themselves an appearance of vivid, 
eager sensuality and materialism, just when they 
but slightly possess those qualities. Their convic- 



tion that intellect in women frightens men goes so 
far that they even gladly deny the keenness of the 
most intellectual sense and purposely invite the 
reputation of short-sightedness. They think they 
will thereby make men more confiding. It is as if a 
soft, attractive twilight were spreading itself around 


Great and Transitory. — What moves the ob- 
server to tears is the rapturous look of happiness 
with which a fair young bride gazes upon her 
husband. We feel all the melancholy of autumn 
in thinking of the greatness and of the transitori- 
ness of human happiness. 

Sense and Sacrifice. — Many a woman has the 
intelletto del sacrifizio* and no longer enjoys life 
when her husband refuses to sacrifice her. With 
all her wit, she then no longer knows — whither? 
and without perceiving it, is changed from sacri- 
ficial victim to sacrificial priest. 

The Unfeminine.-— " Stupid as a man," say the 
women ; " Cowardly as a woman," say the men. 
Stupidity in a woman is unfeminine. 

Masculine and Feminine Temperament and 
Mortality. — That the male sex has a worse 

*A transposition of sacrifizio delP intelletto, the Jesuit 
maxim. — Tr. 


temperament than the female follows from the fact 
that male children have a greater mortality than 
female, clearly because they "leap out of their 
skins" more easily. Their wildness and unbear- 
ableness soon make all the bad stuff in them deadly. 


The Age of Cyclopean Building. — The de- 
mocratisation of Europe is a resistless force. Even 
he who would stem the tide uses those very means 
that democratic thought first put into men's hands, 
and he makes these means more handy and work- 
able. The most inveterate enemies of democracy 
(I mean the spirits of upheaval) seem only to exist 
in order, by the fear that they inspire, to drive for- 
ward the different parties faster and faster on the 
democratic course. Now we may well feel sorry 
for those who are working consciously and honour- 
ably for this future. There is something dreary and 
monotonous in their faces, and the grey dust seems 
to have been wafted into their very brains. Never- 
theless, posterity may possibly some day laugh at 
our anxiety,and seein the democraticwork of several 
generations what we see in the building of stone 
dams and walls — an activity that necessarily covers 
clothes and face with a great deal of dust, and 
perhaps unavoidably makes the workmen, too, a 
little dull-witted ; but who would on that account 
desire such work undone ? It seems that the de- 
mocratisation of Europe is a link in the chain of 
those mighty prophylactic principles which are the 
thought of the modern era, and whereby we rise up 


in revolt against the Middle Ages. Now, and now 
only, is the age of Cyclopean building ! A final 
security in the foundations, that the future may 
build on them without danger ! Henceforth, an 
impossibility of the orchards of culture being once 
more destroyed overnight by wild, senseless moun- 
tain torrents ! Dams and walls against barbarians, 
against plagues, against physical and spiritual serf- 
dom ! And all this understood at first roughly and 
literally, but gradually in an ever higher and more 
spiritual sense, so that all the principles here indi- 
cated may appear as the intellectual preparation of 
the highest artist in horticulture, who can only apply 
himself to his own task when the other is fully ac- 
complished! — True, if we consider the long intervals 
of time that here lie between means and end, the 
great, supreme labour, straining the powers and 
brains of centuries, that is necessary in order to 
create or to provide each individual means, we must 
not bear too hardly upon the workers of the present 
when they loudly proclaim that the wall and the 
fence are already the end and the final goal. After 
all, no one yet sees the gardener and the fruit, for 
whose sake the fence exists. 


The Right of Universal Suffrage. — The 
people has not granted itself universal suffrage but, 
wherever this is now in force, it has received and 
accepted it as a temporary measure. But in any 
case the people has the right to restore the gift, if 
it does not satisfy its anticipations. This dissatis- 


faction seems universal nowadays, for when, at any 
occasion where the vote is exercised, scarce two- 
thirds, nay perhaps not even the majority of all 
voters, go to the polls, that very fact is a vote against 
the whole suffrage system. — On this point, in fact, 
we must pronounce a much sterner verdict. A law 
that enacts that the majority shall decide as to the 
welfare of all cannot be built up on the foundation 
that it alone has provided, for it is bound to require 
a far broader foundation, namely the unanimity of 
all. Universal suffrage must not only be the expres- 
sion of the will of a majority, but of the whole country. 
Thus the dissent of a very small minority is already 
enough to set aside the system as impracticable ; 
and the abstention from voting is in fact a dissent 
of this kind, which ruins the whole institution. The 
" absolute veto " of the individual, or — not to be too 
minute — the veto of a few thousands, hangs over the 
system as the consequence of justice. On every oc- 
casion when it is employed, the system must, accord- 
ing to the variety of the division, first prove that it 
has still a right to exist. 


False Conclusions.— What false conclusions 
are drawn in spheres where we are not at home, 
even by those of us who are accustomed as men of 
science to draw right conclusions ! It is humiliat- 
ing ! Now it is clear that in the great turmoil of 
worldly doings, in political affairs, in all sudden and 
urgent matters such as almost every day brings up, 
these false conclusions must decide. For no one 


feels at home with novelties that have sprung up in 
the night. All political work, even with great states- 
men, is an improvisation that trusts to luck. 


Premisses of the Age of Machinery.— The 
press, the machine, the railway, the telegraph are 
premisses of which no one has yet dared to draw 
the conclusions that will follow in a thousand years. 


A Drag upon Culture. — When we are told that 
here men have no time for productive occupations, 
because military manoeuvres and processions take 
up their days, and the rest of the population must 
feed and clothe them, their dress, however, being 
striking, often gay and full of absurdities ; that there 
only a few distinguished qualities are recognised, 
individuals resemble each other more than elsewhere, 
or at any rate are treated as equals, yet obedience 
is exacted and yielded without reasoning, for men 
command and make no attempt to convince ; that 
here punishments are few, but these few cruel and 
likely to become the final and most terrible ; that 
there treason ranks as the capital offence, and even 
the criticism of evils is only ventured on by the most 
audacious ; that there, again, human life is cheap, 
and ambition often takes the form of setting life in 
danger — when we hear all this, we at once say, "This 
is a picture of a barbarous society that rests on a 
hazardous footing." One man perhaps will add, " It 
is a portrait of Sparta." But another will become 


meditative and declare that this is a description of 
our modern military system, as it exists in the midst 
of our altogether different culture and society, a 
living anachronism, the picture, as above said, of a 
community resting on a hazardous footing ; a post- 
humous work of the past, which can only act as a 
drag upon the wheels of the present. — Yet at times 
even a drag upon culture is vitally necessary — that 
is to say, when culture is advancing too rapidly 
downhill or (as perhaps in this case) uphill. 


More Reverence for Them that Know. — 
In the competition of production and sale the public 
is made judge of the product. But the public has 
no special knowledge, and judges by the appearance 
of the wares. In consequence, the art of appearance 
(and perhaps the taste for it) must increase under the 
dominance of competition, while on the other hand 
the quality of every product must deteriorate. The 
result will be — so far as reason does not fall in value 
— that one day an end will be put to that competi- 
tion, and a new principle will win the day. Only 
the master of the craft should pronounce a verdict 
on the work, and the public should be dependent on 
the belief in the personality of the judge and his 
honesty. Accordingly, no anonymous work ! At 
least an expert should be there as guarantor and 
pledge his name if the name of the creator is lack- 
ing or is unknown. The cheapness of an article 
is for the layman another kind of illusion and de- 
ceit, since only durability can decide that a thing 


is cheap and to what an extent. But it is difficult, 
and for a layman impossible, to judge of its dura- 
bility. — Hence that which produces an effect on the 
eye and costs little at present gains the advantage 
— this being naturally machine-made work. Again, 
machinery — that is to say, the cause of the greatest 
rapidity and facility in production — favours the most 
saleable kind of article. Otherwise it involves no 
tangible profit; it would be too little used and 
too often stand idle. But as to what is most sale- 
able, the public, as above said, decides : it must be 
the most exchangeable — in other words, the thing 
that appears good and also appears cheap. Thus 
in the domain of labour our motto must also hold 
good : " More respect for them that know ! " 


The Danger of Kings.— Democracy has it in 
its power, without any violent means, and only by 
a lawful pressure steadily exerted, to make kingship 
and emperorship hollow, until only a zero remains, 
perhaps with the significance of every zero in that, 
while nothing in itself, it multiplies a number ten- 
fold if placed on the right side. Kingship and em- 
perorship would remain a gorgeous ornament upon 
the simple and appropriate dress of democracy, a 
beautiful superfluity that democracy allows itself, 
a relic of all the historically venerable, primitive or- 
naments, nay the symbol of history itself, and in 
this unique position a highly effective thing if, as 
above said, it does not stand alone, but is put on the 
right side. — In order to avoid the danger of this 


nullification, kings hold by their teeth to their dig- 
nity as war-lords. To this end they need wars, or 
in other words exceptional circumstances, in which 
that slow, lawful pressure of the democratic forces 
is relaxed. 


The Teacher a Necessary Evil. — Let us 
have as few people as possible between the pro- 
ductive minds and the hungry and recipient minds ! 
The middlemen almost unconsciously adulterate the 
food which they supply. For their work as middle- 
men they want too high a fee for themselves, and 
this is drawn from the original, productive spirits 
— namely, interest, admiration, leisure, money, and 
other advantages. — Accordingly, we should always 
look upon the teacher as a necessary evil, just like 
the merchant ; as an evil that we should make as 
small as possible. — Perhaps the prevailing distress 
in Germany has its main cause in the fact that too 
many wish to live and live well by trade (in other 
words, desiring as far as possible to diminish prices 
for the producer and raise prices for the consumer, 
and thus to profit by the greatest possible loss to 
both). In the same way, we may certainly trace a 
main cause of the prevailing intellectual poverty in 
the superabundance of teachers. It is because of 
teachers that so little is learnt, and that so badly. 


The Tax of Homage.— Him whom we know 
and honour, — be he physician, artist, or artisan, — 
who does and produces something for us, we gladly 


pay as highly as we can, often a fee beyond our 
means. On the other hand, we pay the unknown 
as low a price as possible ; here is a contest in which 
every one struggles and makes others struggle for a 
foot's breadth of land. In the work of the known 
there is something that cannot be bought, the senti- 
ment and ingenuity put into his work for our own 
sake. We think we cannot better express our sense 
of obligation than by a sort of sacrifice on our part. 
— The heaviest tax is the tax of homage. The more 
competition prevails, the more we buy for the un- 
known and work for the unknown, the lower does this 
tax become, whereas it is really the standard for the 
loftiness of man's spiritual intercourse. 


The Means towards Genuine Peace. — No 
government will nowadays admit that it maintains 
an army in order to satisfy occasionally its passion 
for conquest. The army is said to serve only 
defensive purposes. This morality, which justifies 
self-defence, is called in as the government's advo- 
cate. This means, however, reserving morality for 
ourselves and immorality for our neighbour, because 
he must be thought eager for attack and conquest 
if our state is forced to consider means of self- 
defence. — At the same time, by our explanation of 
our need of an army (because he denies the lust of 
attack just as our state does, and ostensibly also 
maintains his army for defensive reasons), we pro- 
claim him a hypocrite and cunning criminal, who 
would fain seize by surprise, without any fighting, 


a harmless and unwary victim. In this attitude all 
states face each other to-day. They presuppose 
evil intentions on their neighbour's part and good 
intentions on their own. This hypothesis, however, 
is an inhuman notion, as bad as and worse than 
war. Nay, at bottom it is a challenge and motive 
to war, foisting as it does upon the neighbouring 
state the charge of immorality, and thus provoking 
hostile intentions and acts. The doctrine of the 
army as a means of self-defence must be abjured 
as completely as the lust of conquest. Perhaps a 
memorable day will come when a nation renowned 
in wars and victories, distinguished by the highest 
development of military order and intelligence, and 
accustomed to make the heaviest sacrifice to these 
objects, will voluntarily exclaim, "We will break 
our swords," and will destroy its whole military 
system, lock, stock, and barrel. Making ourselves 
defenceless (after having been the most strongly 
defended) from a loftiness of sentiment — that is the 
means towards genuine peace, which must always 
rest upon a pacific disposition. The so-called armed 
peace that prevails at present in all v countries is a 
sign of a bellicose disposition, of a disposition that 
trusts neither itself nor its neighbour, and, partly 
from hate, partly from fear, refuses to lay down its 
weapons. Better to perish than to hate and fear, 
and twice as far better to perish than to make one- 
self hated and feared — this must some day become 
the supreme maxim of every political community ! — 
Our liberal representatives of the people, as is well 
known, have not the time for reflection on the nature 
of humanity, or else they would know that they are 


working in vain when they work for "a gradual 
diminution of the military burdens." Onthe contrary, 
when the distress of these burdens is greatest, the 
sort of God who alone can help here will be nearest. 
The tree of military glory can only be destroyed at 
one swoop, with one stroke of lightning. But, as 
you know, lightning comes from the cloud and from 


Whether Property can be squared with 
JUSTICE. — When the injustice of property is strongly 
felt (and the hand of the great clock is once more at 
this place), we formulate two methods of relieving 
this injustice: either an equal distribution, or an 
abolition of private possession and a return to State 
ownership. The latter method is especially dear to 
the hearts of our Socialists, who are angry with that 
primitive Jew for saying, "Thou shalt not steal." 
In their view the eighth* commandment should 
rather run, " Thou shalt not possess." — The former 
method was frequently tried in antiquity, always 
indeed on a small scale, and yet with poor success. 
From this failure we too may learn. " Equal plots 
of land" is easily enough said, but how much 
bitterness is aroused by the necessary division and 
separation, by the loss of time-honoured possessions, 
how much piety is wounded and sacrificed ! We 
uproot the foundation of morality when we uproot 
boundary-stones. Again, how much fresh bitter- 
ness among the new owners, how much envy and 
looking askance ! For there have never been two 
* The original, by a curious slip, has " seventh." — Tr. 


really equal plots of land, and if there were, man's 
envy of his neighbour would prevent him from 
believing in their equality. And how long would 
this equality, unhealthy and poisoned at the very 
roots, endure? In a few generations, by inherit- 
ance, here one plot would come to five owners, there 
five plots to one. Even supposing that men ac- 
quiesced in such abuses through the enactment of 
stern laws of inheritance, the same equal plots 
would indeed exist, but there would also be needy 
malcontents, owning nothing but dislike of their 
kinsmen and neighbours, and longing for a general 
upheaval. — If, however, by the second method we 
try to restore ownership to the community and make 
the individual but a temporary tenant, we interfere 
with agriculture. For man is opposed to all that is 
only a transitory possession, unblessed with his own 
care and sacrifice. With such property he behaves 
in freebooter fashion, as robber or as worthless 
spendthrift. When Plato declares that self-seeking 
would be removed with the abolition of property, 
we may answer him that, if self-seeking be taken 
away, man will no longer possess the four cardinal 
virtues either ; as we must say that the most deadly 
plague could not injure mankind so terribly as if 
vanity were one day to disappear. Without vanity 
and self-seeking what are human virtues ? By this 
I am far from meaning that these virtues are but 
varied names and masks for these two qualities. 
Plato's Utopian refrain, which is still sung by 
Socialists, rests upon a deficient knowledge of men. 
He lacked the historical science of moral emotions, 
the insight into the origin of the good and useful 


characteristics of the human soul. He believed, like 
all antiquity, in good and evil as in black and white 
— that is to say, in a radical difference between good 
and bad men and good and bad qualities. — In order 
that property may henceforth inspire more con- 
fidence and become more moral, we should keep 
open all the paths of work for small fortunes, but 
should prevent the effortless and sudden acquisition of 
wealth. Accordingly, we should take all the branches 
of transport and trade which favour the accumu- 
lation of large fortunes — especially, therefore, the 
money market — out of the hands of private persons 
or private companies, and look upon those who own 
too much, just as upon those who own nothing, as 
types fraught with danger to the community. 


THE VALUE OF LABOUR.— If we try to determine 
the value of labour by the amount of time, industry, 
good or bad will, constraint, inventiveness or lazi- 
ness, honesty or make-believe bestowed upon it, the 
valuation can never be a just one. For the whole 
personality would have to be thrown into the scale, 
and this is impossible. Here the motto is, " Judge 
not ! " But after all the cry for justice is the cry we 
now hear from those who are dissatisfied with the 
present valuation of labour. If we reflect further we 
find every person non- responsible for his product, the 
labour; hence merit can never be derived therefrom, 
and every labour is as good or as bad as it must be 
through this or that necessary concatenation of forces 
and weaknesses, abilities and desires. The worker 


is not at liberty to say whether he shall work or not, 
or to decide how he shall work. Only the stand- 
points of usefulness, wider and narrower, have created 
the valuation of labour. What we at present call 
justice does very well in this sphere as a highly 
refined utility, which does not only consider the 
moment and exploit the immediate opportunity, but 
looks to the permanence of all conditions, and thus 
also keeps in view the well-being of the worker, his 
physical and spiritual contentment : in order that he 
and his posterity may work well for our posterity 
and become trustworthy for longer periods than the 
individual span of human life. The exploitation of 
the worker was, as we now understand, a piece of 
folly, a robbery at the expense of the future, a jeo- 
pardisation of society. We almost have the war now, 
and in any case the expense of maintaining peace, 
of concluding treaties and winning confidence, will 
henceforth be very great, because the folly of the 
exploiters was very great and long-lasting. 


Of the Study of the Social Body. — The 
worst drawback for the modern student of economics 
and political science in Europe, and especially in 
Germany, is that the actual conditions, instead of 
exemplifying rules, illustrate exceptions or stages of 
transition and extinction. We must therefore learn 
to look beyond actually existing conditions and, for 
example, turn our eyes to distant North America, 
where we can still contemplate and investigate, if we 
will, the initial and normal movement of the social 



body. In Germany such a study requires arduous 
and historical research, or, as I have suggested, a 


How far Machinery Humiliates. — Machin- 
ery is impersonal ; it robs the piece of work of its 
pride, of the individual merits and defects that cling 
to all work that is not machine-made — in other words, 
of its bit of humanity. Formerly, all buying from 
handicraftsmen meant a mark of distinction for their 
personalities, with whose productions people sur- 
rounded themselves. Furniture and dress accord- 
ingly became the symbols of mutual valuation and 
personal connection. Nowadays, on the other hand, 
we seem to live in the midst of anonymous and im- 
personal serfdom. — We must not buy the facilita- 
tion of labour too dear. 


Century-old Quarantine. — Democratic in- 
stitutions are centres of quarantine against the old 
plague of tyrannical desires. As such they are ex- 
tremely useful and extremely tedious. 


The Most Dangerous Partisan. — The most 
dangerous partisan is he whose defection would in- 
volve the ruin of the whole party — in other words, 
the best partisan. 


Destiny and the Stomach. — A piece more or 
less of bread and butter in the jockey's body is oc- 
casionally the decisive factor in races and bets, and 
thus in the good and bad luck of thousands. — So 
long as the destiny of nations depends upon diplo- 
mats, the stomachs of diplomats will always be the 
object of patriotic misgivings. Quousque tandem . . 


The Victory of Democracy. — All political 
powers nowadays attempt to exploit the fear of 
Socialism for their own strengthening. Yet in the 
long run democracy alone gains the advantage, for 
#// parties are now compelled to flatter " the masses * 
and grant them facilities and liberties of all kinds, 
with the result that the masses finally become omni- 
potent. The masses are as far as possible removed 
from Socialism as a doctrine of altering the acquisi- 
tion of property. I f once they get the steering-wheel 
into their hands, through great majorities in their 
Parliaments, they will attack with progressive taxa- 
tion the whole dominant system of capitalists, mer- 
chants, and financiers, and will in fact slowly create 
a middle class which may forget Socialism like a 
disease that has been overcome. — The practical re- 
sult of this increasing democratisation will next be 
a European league of nations, in which each indi- 
vidual nation, delimited by the proper geographical 
frontiers, has the position of a canton with its separ- 
ate rights. Small account will be taken of the 


historic memories of previously existing nations 
because the pious affection for these memories will 
be gradually uprooted under the democratic regime, 
with all its craze for novelty and experiment The 
corrections of frontiers that will prove necessary will 
be so carried out as to serve the interests of the great 
cantons and at the same time that of the whole federa- 
tion, but not that of any venerable memories. To 
find the standpoints for these corrections will be the 
task of future diplomats, who will have to be at the 
same time students of civilisation, agriculturists, and 
commercial experts, with no armies but motives and 
utilities at their back. Then only will foreign and 
home politics be inseparably connected, whereas 
to-day the latter follows its haughty dictator, and 
gleans in sorry baskets the stubble that is left over 
from the harvest of the former. 


Goal and Means of Democracy. — Democ- 
racy tries to create and guarantee independence for 
as many as possible in their opinions, way of life, 
and occupation. For this purpose democracy must 
withhold the political suffrage both from those who 
have nothing and from those who are really rich, as 
being the two intolerable classes of men. At the 
removal of these classes it must always work, be- 
cause they are continually calling its task in ques- 
tion. In the same way democracy must prevent 
all measures that seem to aim at party organisation. 
For the three great foes of independence, in that 
threefold sense, are the have-nots, the rich, and the 



parties. — I speak of democracy as of a thing to 
come. What at present goes by that name is dis- 
tinguished from older forms of government only by 
the fact that it drives with new horses ; the roads 
and the wheels are the same as of yore. — Has the 
danger really become less with these conveyances of 
the commonwealth ? 


Discretion and Success. — That great quality 
of discretion, which is fundamentally the virtue of 
virtues, their ancestress and queen, has in common 
life by no means always success on its side. The 
wooer would find himself deceived if he had wooed 
that virtue only for the sake of success. For it 
is rated by practical people as suspicious, and is 
confused with cunning and hypocrisy: he who 
obviously lacks discretion, the man who quickly 
grasps and sometimes misses his grasp, has pre- 
judice on his side — he is an honest, trustworthy 
fellow. Practical people, accordingly, do not like 
the prudent man, thinking he is to them a danger. 
Moreover, we often assume the prudent man to be 
anxious, preoccupied, pedantic — unpractical, butter- 
fly people find him uncomfortable, because he does 
not live in their happy-go-lucky way, without 
thinking of actions and duties ; he appears among 
them as their embodied conscience, and the bright 
day is dimmed to their eyes before his gaze. Thus 
when success and popularity fail him, he may often 
say by way of private consolation, "So high are 
the taxes you have to pay for the possession of the 


most precious of human commodities — still it is 
worth the price ! " 


Et in Arcadia Ego. — I looked down, over 
waves of hills, to a milky-green lake, through firs 
and pines austere with age; rocky crags of all 
shapes about me, the soil gay with flowers and 
grasses. A herd of cattle moved, stretched, and 
expanded itself before me ; single cows and groups 
in the distance, in the clearest evening light, hard 
by the forest of pines ; others nearer and darker ; 
all in calm and eventide contentment. My watch 
pointed to half-past six. The bull of the herd had 
stepped into the white foaming brook, and went 
forward slowly, now striving against, now giving 
way to his tempestuous course ; thus, no doubt, he 
took his sort of fierce pleasure. Two dark brown 
beings, of Bergamasque origin, tended the herd, the 
girl dressed almost like a boy. On the left, over- 
hanging cliffs and fields of snow above broad belts 
of woodland ; to the right, two enormous ice-covered 
peaks, high above me, shimmering in the veil of 
the sunny haze — all large, silent, and bright. The 
beauty of the whole was awe-inspiring and induced 
to a mute worship of the moment and its revelation. 
Unconsciously, as if nothing could be more natural, 
you peopled this pure, clear world of light (which 
had no trace of yearning, of expectancy, of looking 
forward or backward) with Greek heroes. You felt 
it all as Poussin and his school felt — at once heroic 
and idyllic. — So individual men too have lived, con- 
stantly feeling themselves in the world and the 


world in themselves, and among them one of the 
greatest men, the inventor of a heroico-idyllic form 
of philosophy — Epicurus. 


Counting and Measuring. — The art of see- 
ing many things, of weighing one with another, of 
reckoning one thing with another and constructing 
from them a rapid conclusion, a fairly correct sum 
— that goes to make a great politician or general 
or merchant. This quality is, in fact, a power of 
speedy mental calculation. The art of seeing one 
thing alone, of finding therein the sole motive for 
action, the guiding principle of all other action, 
goes to make the hero and also the fanatic. This 
quality means a dexterity in measuring with one 


Not to See too Soon. — As long as we undergo 
some experience, we must give ourselves up to the 
experience and shut our eyes — in other words, not 
become observers of what we are undergoing. For 
to observe would disturb good digestion of the ex- 
perience, and instead of wisdom we should gain noth- 
ing but dyspepsia. 


From the Practice of the Wise.— To become 
wise we must will to undergo certain experiences, 
and accordingly leap into their jaws. This, it is 
true, is very dangerous. Many a " sage " has been 
eaten up in the process. 



Exhaustion of the Intellect. — Our occa- 
sional coldness and indifference towards people, 
which is imputed to us as hardness and defect of 
character, is often only an exhaustion of the in- 
tellect. In this state other men are to us, as we are 
to ourselves, tedious or immaterial. 


" The One Thing Needful."— If we are clever, 
the one thing we need is to have joy in our hearts. 
" Ah," adds some one, " if we are clever, the best 
thing we can do is to be wise." 


A Sign of Love. — Some one said, " There are 
two persons about whom I have never thought 
deeply. That is a sign of my love for them." 


How we Seek to Improve Bad Arguments. 
— Many a man adds a bit of his personality to his 
bad arguments, as if they would thus go better and 
change into straight and good arguments. In the 
same way, players at skittles, even after a throw, 
try to give a direction to the ball by turns and 

HONESTY. — It is but a small thing to be a pattern 
sort of man with regard to rights and property — for 


instance (to name trifling points, which of course 
give a better proof of this sort of pattern nature 
than great examples), if as a boy one never steals 
fruit from another's orchard, and as a man never 
walks on unmown fields. It is but little ; you are 
then still only a " law-abiding person," with just that 
degree of morality of which a " society," a group of 
human beings, is capable. 

" MAN ! " — What is the vanity of the vainest in- 
dividual as compared with the vanity which the 
most modest person feels when he thinks of his 
position in nature and in the world as " Man ! " 

The Most Necessary Gymnastic. — Through 
deficiency in self-control in small matters a similar 
deficiency on great occasions slowly arises. Every 
day on which we have not at least once denied 
ourselves some trifle is turned to bad use and a 
danger to the next day. This gymnastic is indis- 
pensable if we wish to maintain the joy of being 
our own master. 


Losing Ourselves. — When we have first found 
ourselves, we must understand how from time to 
time to lose ourselves and then to find ourselves 
again. — This is true on the assumption that we are 
thinkers. A thinker finds it a drawback always to 
be tied to one person. 



When it is Necessary to Part. — You must, 
for a time at least, part from that which you want 
to know and measure. Only when you have left a 
city do you see how high its towers rise above its 


At Noontide. — He to whom an active and 
.stormy morning of life is allotted, at the noontide 
of life feels his soul overcome by a strange longing 
for a rest that may last for months and years. 
All grows .silent around him, voices sound farther 
and farther in the distance, the sun shines straight 
down upon him. On a hidden woodland sward 
he sees the great God Pan sleeping, and with Pan 
Nature seems to him to have gone to sleep with 
an expression of eternity on their faces. He wants 
nothing, he troubles about nothing ; his heart stands 
still, only his eye lives. Jt is a death with waking 
eyes. Then man .sees much that he never saw be- 
fore, and, so far as his eye can reach, all is woven 
into and as it were buried in a net of Jight. He 
feels happy, but it is a heavy, very heavy kind 
of happiness. — Then at last the wind stirs in the 
trees, noontide is over, life carries him away again, 
life with its blind eyes, and its tempestuous retinue 
behind it — desire, illusion, oblivion, enjoyment, 
destruction, decay. And so comes .evening, more 
stormy and more active than was even the morn- 
ing. — To the really active man these prolonged 
phases of cognition seem almost uncanny and mor- 
bid, but not unpleasant. 


To Beware of One's Portrait-Painter.— A 
great painter, who in a portrait has revealed and put 
on canvas the fullest expression and look of which a 
man is capable, will almost always think, when he 
sees the man later in real life, that he is only look- 
ing at a caricature. 


The Two Principles of the New Life. — 
First Principle : to arrange one's life on the most 
secure and tangible basis, not as hitherto upon the 
most distant, undetermined, and cloudy foundation. 
Second Principle-, to establish the rank of the 
nearest and nearer things, and of the more and less 
secure, before one arranges one's life and directs it 
to a final end. 

Dangerous Irritability.— Talented men who 
are at the same time idle will always appear some- 
what irritated when one of their friends has accom- 
plished a thorough piece of work. Their jealousy 
is awakened, they are ashamed of their own lazi- 
ness, or rather, they fear that their active friend will 
now despise them even more than before. In such 
a mood they criticise the new achievement, and, to 
the utter astonishment of the author, their criticism 
becomes a revenge. 


Destructions of Illusions. — Illusions are 
certainly expensive amusements ; but the destruc- 


tion of illusions is still more expensive, if looked 
upon as an amusement, as it undoubtedly is by some 


The Monotone of the " Sage."— Cows some- 
times have a look of wondering which stops short 
on the path to questioning. In the eye of the 
higher intelligence, on the other hand, the nil admi- 
rari is spread out like the monotony of the cloud- 
less sky. 

Not to be III TOO Long. — We should beware 
of being ill too long. The lookers-on become im- 
patient of their customary duty of showing sym- 
pathy, because they find it too much trouble to 
maintain the appearance of this emotion for any 
length of time. Then they immediately pass to 
suspicion of our character, with the conclusion : 
" You deserve to be ill, and we need no longer be 
at pains to show our sympathy." 

A Hint to Enthusiasts. — He who likes to 
be carried away, and would fain be carried on high, 
must beware lest he become too heavy. For in- 
stance, he must not learn much, and especially not 
let himself be crammed with science. Science 
makes men ponderous — take care, ye enthusiasts ! 


Knowledge of how to Surprise Oneself. 
— He who would see himself as he is, must know 


how to surprise himself, torch in hand. For with 
the mind it is as with the body : whoever is ac- 
customed to look at himself in the glass forgets 
his ugliness, and only recognises it again by means 
of the portrait-painter. Yet he even grows used 
to the picture and forgets his ugliness all over 
again. — Herein we see the universal law that man 
cannot endure unalterable ugliness, unless for a 
moment. He forgets or denies it in all cases. — The 
moralists must reckon upon that " moment " for 
bringing forward their truths. 


Opinions and Fish. — We are possessors of our 
opinions as of fish — that is, in so far as we are pos- 
sessors of a fish pond. We must go fishing and 
have luck — then we have our fish, our opinions. I 
speak here of live opinions, of live fish. Others are 
content to possess a cabinet of fossils — and, in their 
head, " convictions." 


Signs of Freedom and Servitude. — To 
satisfy one's needs so far as possible oneself, even 
if imperfectly, is the path towards freedom in mind 
and personality. To satisfy many even superfluous 
needs, and that as fully as possible, is a training 
for servitude. The Sophist Hippias, who himself 
earned and made all that he wore within and with- 
out, is the representative of the highest freedom of 
mind and personality. It does not matter whether 



all is done equally well and perfectly — pride can 
repair the damaged places. 

Belief in Oneself. — In our times we mistrust 
every one who believes in himself. Formerly this 
was enough to make people believe in one. The 
recipe for finding faith now runs : " Spare not thy- 
self! In order to set thy opinion in a credible light, 
thou must first set fire to thy own hut ! " 


At Once Richer and Poorer.— I know a 
man who accustomed himself even in childhood 
to think w r ell of the intellectuality of mankind — in 
other words, of their real devotion as regards things 
of the intellect, their unselfish preference for that 
which is recognised as true — but who had at the 
same time a modest or even depreciatory view of 
his own brain (judgment, memory, presence of mind, 
imagination). He set no value on himself when 
he compared himself with others. Now in the 
course of years he was compelled, first once and 
then in a hundred ways, to revise this verdict. One 
would have thought he would be thoroughly satis- 
fied and delighted. Such, in fact, was to some ex- 
tent the case, but, as he once said, " Yet a bitterness 
of the deepest dye is mingled with my feeling, such 
as I did not know in earlier life ; for since I learnt 
to value men and myself more correctly, my intellect 
seems to me of less use. I scarcely think I can 
now do any good at all with it, because the minds 


of others cannot understand the good. I now 
always see before me the frightful gulf between 
those who could give help and those who need 
help. So I am troubled by the misfortune of having 
my intellect to myself and of being forced to enjoy 
it alone so far as it can give any enjoyment. But 
to give is more blessed than to possess, and what is 
the richest man in the solitude of a desert ? " * 


How WE SHOULD Attack. — The reasons for 
which men believe or do not believe are in very few 
people as strong as they might be. As a rule, in 
order to shake a belief it is far from necessary to use 
the heaviest weapon of attack. Many attain their ob- 
ject by merely making the attack with some noise — 
in fact, pop-guns are often enough. In dealing with 
very vain persons, the semblance of a strong attack 
is enough. They think they are being taken quite 
seriously, and readily give way. 


DEATH. — Through the certain prospect of death 
a precious, fragrant drop of frivolity might be mixed 
with every life — and now, you singular druggist- 
souls, you have made of death a drop of poison, 
unpleasant to taste, which makes the whole of life 


Repentance. — Never allow repentance free play, 

* Clearly autobiographical. Nietzsche, like all great men, 
passed through a period of modesty and doubt. — Tr. 


but say at once to yourself, " That would be add- 
ing a second piece of folly to the first" If you 
have worked evil, you must bethink yourself of 
doing good. If you are punished for your actions, 
submit to the punishment with the feeling that by 
this very submission you are somehow doing good, 
in that you are deterring others from falling into 
the same error. Every malefactor who is punished 
has a right to consider himself a benefactor to 

Becoming a Thinker. — How can any one be- 
come a thinker if he does not spend at least a third 
part of the day without passions, men, and books ? 

The Best Remedy. — A little health on and off 
is the best remedy for the invalid. 


Don't Touch. — There are dreadful people who, 
instead of solving a problem, complicate it for those 
who deal with it and make it harder to solve.* 
Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the 
head should be entreated not to hit the nail at all. 

Forgetting Nature. — We speak of Nature, 
and, in doing so, forget ourselves : we ourselves are 

* Nietzsche here alludes to his own countrymen. — Tr. 


Nature, quand meme. — Consequently, Nature is 
something quite different from what we feel on hear- 
ing her name pronounced. 


Profundity and Ennui. — In the case of pro- 
found men, as of deep wells, it takes a long time 
before anything that is thrown into them reaches 
the bottom. The spectators, who generally do not 
wait long enough, too readily look upon such a man 
as callous and hard — or even as boring. 

When it is Time to Vow Fidelity to One- 
self. — We sometimes go astray in an intellectual 
direction which does not correspond to our talents. 
For a time we struggle heroically against wind and 
tide, .really against ourselves ; but finally we become 
weary and we pant. What we accomplish gives us 
no real pleasure, since we think that we have paid too 
heavy a price for these successes. We even despair 
of our productivity, of our future, perhaps in the 
midst of victory. — Finally, finally we turn back — and 
then the wind swells our sails and bears us into our 
smooth water. What bliss ! How certain of victory 
we feel ! Only now do we know what we are and 
what we intend, and now we vow fidelity to our- 
selves, and have a right to do so — as men that know. 

Weather Prophets.— Just as the clouds reveal 
to us the direction of the wind high above our 


heads, so the lightest and freest spirits give signs of 
future weather by their course. The wind in the 
valley and the market-place opinions of to-day have 
no significance for the future, but only for the past. 

Continual Acceleration. — Those who begin 
slowly and find it hard to become familiar with 
a subject, sometimes acquire afterwards the quality 
of continual acceleration — so that in the end no one 
knows where the current will take them. 

The Three Good Things.— Greatness, calm, 
sunlight — these three embrace all that a thinker 
desires and also demands of himself: his hopes 
and duties, his claims in the intellectual and moral 
sphere, nay even in his daily manner of life and 
the scenic background of his residence. Corre- 
sponding to these three things are, firstly thoughts 
that exalt, secondly thoughts that soothe, and 
thirdly thoughts that illuminate — but, fourthly, 
thoughts that share in all these three qualities, in 
which all earthly things are transfigured. This is 
the kingdom of the great trinity of joy. 

Dying FOR " Truth." — We should not let our- 
selves be burnt for our opinions — we are not so cer- 
tain of them as all that. But we might let ourselves 
be burnt for the right of possessing and changing 
our opinions. 


Market Value. — If we wish to pass exactly 
for what we are, we must be something that has its 
market value. As, however, only objects in com- 
mon use have a market value, this desire is the 
consequence either of shrewd modesty or of stupid 

Moral for Builders. — We must remove the 
scaffolding when the house has been built. 

SOPHOCLEANISM. — Who poured more water into 
wine than the Greeks ? Sobriety and grace com- 
bined — that was the aristocratic privilege of the 
Athenian in the time of Sophocles and after. Imi- 
tate that whoever can ! In life and in work ! 

Heroism. — The heroic consists in doing some- 
thing great (or in nobly not doing something) with- 
out feeling oneself to be in competition with or 
before others. The hero carries with him, wherever 
he goes, the wilderness and the holy land with in- 
violable precincts. 

Finding our " Double " in Nature. — In some 
country places we rediscover ourselves, with a de- 
lightful shudder : it is the pleasantest way of find- 
ing our " double." — How happy must he be who has 


that feeling just here, in this perpetually sunny 
October air, in this happy elfin play of the wind 
from morn till eve, in this clearest of atmospheres 
and mildest of temperatures, in all the serious yet 
cheerful landscape of hill, lake, and forest on this 
plateau, which has encamped fearlessly next to the 
terrors of eternal snow : here, where Italy and Fin- 
land have joined hands, and where the home of all 
the silver colour-tones of Nature seems to be estab- 
lished. How happy must he be who can say, " True, 
there are many grander and finer pieces of scenery, 
but this is so familiar and intimate to me, related 
by blood, nay even more to me ! " 


Affability of the Sage. — The sage will un- 
consciously be affable in his intercourse with other 
men, as a prince would be, and will readily treat 
them as equals, in spite of all differences of talent, 
rank, and character. For this characteristic, how- 
ever, so scon as people notice it, he is most heavily 


Gold. — All that is gold does not glitter. A soft 
sheen characterises the most precious metal. 


Wheel and Drag.— The wheel and the drag 
have different duties, but also one in common — that 
of hurting each other. 



Disturbances of the Thinker. — All that in- 
terrupts the thinker in his thoughts (disturbs him, 
as people say) must be regarded by him calmly, as 
a new model who comes in by the door to offer 
himself to the artist. Interruptions are the ravens 
which bring food to the recluse. 

Being very Clever. — Being very clever keeps 
men young, but they must put up with being con- 
sidered, for that very reason, older than they are. 
For men read the handwriting of the intellect as 
signs of experiejice — that is, of having lived much and 
evilly, of suffering, error, and repentance. Hence, if 
we are very clever and show it, we appear to them 
older and wickeder than we are. 


How we must Conquer. — We ought not to 
desire victory if we only have the prospect of over- 
coming our opponent by a hair's breadth. A good 
victory makes the vanquished rejoice, and must have 
about it something divine which spares humiliation. 


An Illusion of Superior Minds. — Superior 
minds find it difficult to free themselves from an 
illusion ; for they imagine that they excite envy 
among the mediocre and are looked upon as ex- 


ceptions. As a matter of fact, however, they are 
looked upon as superfluous, as something that would 
not be missed if it did not exist. 


Demanded by Cleanliness. — Changing opin- 
ions is in some natures as much demanded by clean- 
liness as changing clothes. In the case of other 
natures it is only demanded by vanity. 


Also Worthy of a Hero. — Here is a hero who 
did nothing but shake the tree as soon as the fruits 
were ripe. Do you think that too small a thing ? 
Well, just look at the tree that he shook. 


A Gauge for Wisdom. — The growth of wisdom 
may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill- 

Expressing an Error disagreeably. — It is 
not to every one's taste to hear truth pleasantly ex- 
pressed. But let no one at least believe that error 
will become truth if it is disagreeably expressed. 


The Golden Maxim. — Man has been bound 
with many chains, in order that he may .forget to 


comport himself like an animal. And indeed he 
has become more gentle, more intellectual, more 
joyous, more meditative than any animal. But now 
he still suffers from having carried his chains so long, 
from having been so long without pure air and free 
movement — these chains, however, are, as I repeat 
again and again, the ponderous and significant 
errors of moral, religious, and metaphysical ideas. 
Only when the disease of chains is overcome is the 
first great goal reached — the separation of man from 
the brute. At present we stand in the midst of our 
work of removing the chains, and in doing so we 
need the strictest precautions. Only the ennobled 
man may be granted freedom of spirit ; to him 
alone comes the alleviation of life and heals his 
wounds ; he is the first who can say that he lives 
for the sake of joy, with no other aim ; in any other 
mouth, his motto of " Peace around me and good- 
will towards all the most famUiar things," would be 
dangerous. — In this motto for single individuals he 
is thinking of an ancient saying, magnificent and 
pathetic, which applied to all, and has remained 
standing above all mankind, as a motto and a 
beacon whereby shall perish all who adorn their 
banner too early — the rock on which Christianity 
foundered. It is not even yet time, it seems, for all 
men to have the lot of those shepherds who saw the 
heavens lit up above them and heard the words : 
"Peace on earth and goodwill to one another among 

men." — It is still the age of the individual. 



The Shadow. Of all that you have enunciated, 
nothing pleased me more than one promise : " Ye 
want again to be good neighbours to the most 
familiar things." This will be to the advantage of 
us poor shadows too. For do but confess that you 
have hitherto been only too fond of reviling us. 

The Wanderer-. Reviling? But why did you 
never defend yourselves ? After all, you were very 
close to our ears. 

The Shadow : It seemed to us that we were too 
near you to have a right to talk of ourselves. 

The Wanderer-. What delicacy! Ah, you shadows 
are " better men " * than we, I can see that. 

The Shadow : And yet you called us " importu- 
nate " — us, who know one thing at least extremely 
well : how to be silent and to wait — no Englishman 
knows it better. It is true we are very, very often 
in the retinue of men, but never as their bondsmen. 
When man shuns light, we shun man — so far, at least, 
we are free. 

The Wanderer : Ah, light shuns man far oftener, 
and then also you abandon him. 

The Shadow : It has often pained me to leave you. 
I am eager for knowledge, and much in man has re- 
mained obscure to me, because I cannot always be in 
his company. At the price of complete knowledge 
of man I would gladly be your slave. 

The Wanderer: Do you know, do I know, whether 
you would not then unwittingly become master in- 

* An allusion to the poem " Der Wilde " (The Savage) by 
Saume, which ends with the line, " Sehet, wir wilden sind doch 
bessere Menschen " (Behold, after all, we savages are better 
men). — Tr. 


stead of slave ? Or would remain a slave indeed, but 
would lead a life of humiliation and disgust because 
you despised your master ? Let us both be content 
with freedom such as you have enjoyed up to now — 
you and I ! For the sight of a being not free would 
embitter my greatest joys ; all that is best would be 
repugnant to me if any one had to share it with me 
— I will not hear of any slaves about me. That is 
why I do not care for the dog, that lazy, tail- 
wagging parasite, who first became " doggish" as the 
slave of man, and of whom they still say that he is 
loyal to his master and follows him like 

The Shadow : Like his shadow, they say. Per- 
haps I have already followed you too long to-day ? 
It has been the longest day, but we are nearing the 
end ; be patient a little more ! The grass is damp ; 
I am feeling chilly. 

The Wanderer : Oh, is it already time to part ? 
And I had to hurt you in the end — I saw you be- 
came darker. 

The Shadoiv : I blushed the only colour I have at 
command. I remembered that I had often lain at 
your feet like a dog, and that you then 

The Wanderer: Can I not with all speed do some- 
thing to please you ? Have you no wish ? 

The Shadow : None, except perhaps the wish that 
the philosophic " dog " * expressed to Alexander the 
Great — just move a little out of my light ; I feel 

The Wanderer : What am I to do ? 

* Diogenes, founder of the Cynic school, which derived its 
name from kvwv (dog). — Tr. 


The Shadow : Walk under those fir-trees and look 
around you towards the mountains ; the sun is 

The Wanderer : Where are you ? Where are 
you? |. 



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